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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Gadkari to get 2nd term, Modi mends ties with RSS

Shekhar Iyer & Pradip Kumar Maitra , Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Nagpur, October 22, 2012
First Published: 00:35 IST(22/10/2012) | Last Updated: 10:19 IST(22/10/2012)

There is no change in the BJP-RSS plan to offer Nitin Gadkari a second term as BJP party president, notwithstanding the row over his projects involving acquisition of land in Vidarbha and alleged business connections, top party sources said.

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Gadkari will be re-elected as BJP chief when his first term expires in January next year in accordance with the party’s statute.

Top RSS and BJP leaders are “convinced” that no serious case of corruption had surfaced from the expose by India Against Corruption (IAC) activist Arvind Kejriwal and Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who accused Gadkari of using shell companies to fund his business and receiving investments from contractors, sources said.

In a surprise development, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Sunday met the top brass from the RSS, including its chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur.

RSS circles were abuzz with the talk that Modi sought help from the RSS because he was wary of a section of RSS and BJP workers, particularly those backing Keshubhai Patel and Sanjay Joshi, playing spoilsport in the polls.

Modi spent more than three-and-half hours with Bhagwat, RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi and joint general secretary Suresh Soni. Later, both Bhagwat and Modi did not want to comment on what transpired at their meeting.

Modi brushed aside suggestions that the issue of projecting him as prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections was discussed.

“Being a swayamsevak, I have come here to meet senior RSS leaders after a long spell. This city (the RSS headquarters) is a place of reverence for me,” he said. Two days ago, BJP MP Ram Jethmalani had projected him as a PM candidate.

It is believed that RSS leaders have advised Modi not to demonstrate “antipathy” towards leaders from Bihar because it could prove to be counterproductive in northern India. So, putting a lid on controversy that Bihar BJP leaders were unwelcome in Gujarat, Modi telephoned state president C P Thakur inviting him and other leaders to his state to campaign.

“Modiji telephoned me today (Sunday) to say that unnecessary confusion has been created that Bihar BJP leaders are barred from elections in the state...all BJP leaders and workers are welcome in Gujarat for the elections,” Thakur said.

BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said, “There is nothing like Bihar versus Gujarat in the BJP. We all work together to ensure victory of the party in elections anywhere in the country.”


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