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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Mahesh Jethmalani to contest against Gadkari?

Agencies   January 21, 2013
First Published: 08:43 IST(21/1/2013) | Last Updated: 10:20 IST(21/1/2013)

Bhartiya Janata Party leader Mahesh Jethmalani on Monday reportedly threatened to contest for the post of party presidentship if Nitin Gadkari was given a second chance.

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However, Jethmalani denied contesting the election and said the report on him filing nomination is untrue.

Mahesh Jethmalani is opposed to reappointment of Nitin Gadkari as the party chief as he faces corruption charges.

In 2012, Jethmalani had quit the BJP National Executive in protest against Gadkari.

Meanwhile, a leader of the RSS, Suresh Soni, is also reportedly said to be opposed to Nitin Gadkari's candidature and will be holding talks with senior leader LK Advani.

On Sunday the party issued notification of Gadkari's possible reelection as the party chief.
 
The nominations for the post will be filed and scrutinised on January 23 and Gadkari is expected to be declared the chief by afternoon. He will hold the post for three years.

Issued Sunday, the notification says the announcement will be made the same day unless there is a contest -- something that has never happened as the party has always insisted on consensus for the top post.

Some within the party are reading the notification as a sign that BJP patriarch LK Advani, who has been opposed to second term for Gadkari, may now be reconciled -- or at least resigned -- to the re-election. Advani pushed for Sushma Swaraj as a possible alternative to Gadkari, but Swaraj, already the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, made it clear she wasn't inclined.

"Will any leader want to raise the banner of revolt against the RSS with a year to go for the Lok Sabha polls? Politically, it's next to impossible," said a party leader.

Sources close to Rajnath Singh, the third name that came up in the mix, said he was not in contention.

Some party leaders privately share Advani's concern that the BJP may be pushed on the backfoot if it goes with corruption as the poll plank but none seem ready to take the Sangh head on.

The RSS has held that accusations of irregularities against Gadkari's Purti group exist only in the media and no competent authority has indicted him


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