BJP on Sunday appeared to be on the backfoot on the twin issues of continuance of Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa despite charges of making out-of-turn land allotments to his kin and the reported confession of Swami Aseemanand on his involvement in the Samjhauta blasts.
Party spokespersons briefing media about the deliberations at the two-day National Executive had to contend with uncomfortable questions on Saturday and Sunday both the issues.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman, when asked if Yeddyurappa was bigger than the party's image, said on Sunday, "There is a judicial inquiry going on. The party is also looking into it. We have already said we will take a call."
Asked whether Gadkari's remarks yesterday about BJP Chief Ministers, leaders and party-workers not doing anything which would tarnish the image of the party was aimed at Yeddyurappa, she said that the reference was general and not regarding any particular individual.
She parried a question on whether the party was setting a new kind of precedent by allowing Yeddyurappa to continue when a judicial probe was on.
"The state government has given you enough inputs..... which are self-explanatory. Today we are talking about tackling the issue of various scandals and scams of the UPA," she said.
Though Gadkari did not name Yeddyurappa in his Presidential address here yesterday, his remarks at the National Executive that members should follow the high moral standards set by leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani was a signal enough.
"Our party has a legacy. I appeal to our Chief Ministers, leaders and party workers not to do anything which would spoil the name of the party or make anybody point a finger at us," a senior BJP leader said, quoting Gadkari having told the national executive.
Yeddyurappa was present during Gadkari's address.
Allegations of corruption against him have dented BJP's campaign against the government on the issue of corruption in 2-G spectrum, Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Housing society.
"Let me reiterate our resolve not to spare the guilty. Our opponents can attempt to tarnish BJP, but I am afraid, that will not help them varnish their image," Gadkari said at one point in his address while talking on transparency and accountability in governance.
Swami Aseemanand's confession to a magistrate of his involvement in Samjhauta Express blast case has also seems to have put the BJP in a spot.
Sitharaman replied in the negative when asked whether the issue of the reported confession of Swami Aseemanand and the issue of Hindu terror came up for discussion.
However, Prasad said the government had already told the world, including the United Nations, of Pakistani involvement in the blasts and even named a man from Karachi as one of the accused.
He alleged that the government seems to be investigating the case with "pre-conceived notions".
Objecting to references to Hindu terror, Prasad said BJP maintains that there is no religion of terror and the party uses the term "Jehadi terror" and not "Muslim terror".
He insisted that whoever is guilty of terror activities should be punished.