Breaking his silence, BJP president Nitin Gadkari dismissed all the allegations levelled by NRI businessman Anshuman Mishra against senior party leaders after he was asked to pull out of the Rajya Sabha race.
Gadkari, who is facing heat over the BJP's decision to support Mishra's candidature said: "His motivated and selective tirade against some of the top BJP leaders is nothing but an expression of frustration over his failure to make it to the Raja Sabha."
BJP chief's statement followed serious discussion among top party leaders over slapping legal notice on him for "defaming" the party. Angry leaders wanted action against Mishra as he had claimed he was the BJP's fund-raiser for over a decade and that Murli Manohar Joshi called him seeking funds for elections. Joshi has brushed aside the allegations as "fabricated".
Earlier, bowing to opposition from senior leaders, Gadkari decided not to support Mishra for the Rajya Sabha and directed the Jharkhand legislators to abstain from voting.
But, the deeper worry for party leadership is that the RS polls may destabilising the BJP-led government in Jharkhand. Its ally Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has even threatened to pull it down if its candidate loses because BJP MLAs.
"We are old-time allies and if the JMM snaps its ties with the BJP we can negotiate with it on the formation of a new government and other issues," said Shakeel Ahmad, AICC general secretary in charge of Jharkhand.
Curiously, London-based Mishra had spared Gadkari in his attacks and, while withdrawing his nomination, the former had said he was "abiding by the appeal by Gadkari…despite having the numbers to win."
Gadkari asked the media not to take cognisance of "Mishra's unsubstantiated and wild statements against our senior leaders all of whom have a proven track record of probity in public life and have always enjoyed an unblemished reputation."
The internal heat on Gadkari has increased since this episode. Many leaders were already upset with his handling of the UP affairs, particularly over how he ignored top BJP leaders while inducting tainted BSP leader Babu Singh Kushwaha.