Former BJP chief Rajnath Singh who has been defending his beleaguered party chief Nitin Gadkari, whose resignation has been demanded by several senior party leaders following allegations of unethical business conduct, again backed his party chief in Lucknow on Saturday.
"Why not?" he countered, when asked at a press conference here if Gadkari would get an unprecedented second consecutive stint as party chief.
He also appeared to be dismissive of the demand from several party leaders including party MP Ram Jethamalani (now served with a show cause for speaking against the party line on CBI director's appointment) and Yashwant Sinha for Gadkari's resignation.
"No no, nobody is speaking (against Gadkari) now," he said, when asked how the party intends to deal with a virtual mini revolt within its ranks.
Interestingly, Singh described former Karnataka chief minister BS Yedyurappa, who quit the party on Saturday as a "qaddaawar neta (tall leader)" though he quickly added that even without Yedyurappa, the BJP would do well in Karnataka.
Singh said: "Naturally each time a tall leader leaves the party, it is bound to have some impact. But the BJP has always done well due to its inherent strength."
When pressed on the subject, Singh said: "The BJP is a big party. Why do you start imagining fissures within the party each time you hear something different?"
Surprisingly, Singh also described the Congress government's recent cash-for-subsidy move, on which the BJP has moved the election commission demanding action against Congress for poll code violation, as a "right step" which he said, had been "much delayed."
Singh however also said that the decision would have actually benefited the people if the Congress government had first got bank accounts of the "poor and laborers" opened.
"Without proper safeguards it appears more like a "chunavi chara" (election stunt), ahead of the elections," he said.
While assembly polls are due in Gujarat later this month, the general elections, BJP leaders claim, are also "round the corner."
Rajnath said: "The Congress used the loan waiver scheme ahead of elections to entice voters during the UPA I phase and now it's playing the cash-for-subsidy gimmick."
Singh said that former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh would make a re-entry into the BJP by December 15. Rajnath said the BJP won't let the Congress "implement" the FDI-in-retail decision.
"In fact I want to urge both UP's ruling Samajwadi Party and the main opposition Bahujan Samaj Party to vote against the Congress when voting takes place in lok Sabha on FDI under rule 184. The government will not fall even if it loses, but the SP and BSP's decision would help block the FDI in retail move of the Congress which would harm the country's economy," he said.