I-T Clean Chit to Gadkari, May Get Party Chief Seat
If the timing of the incometax raids on Nitin Gadkari’s Purti group cost him second term as BJP president, a clean chit by the department on the eve of election results is bound to open doors for him in the new government if it is led by Narendra Modi. Gadkari is scheduled to meet party’s prime ministerial candidate on Monday evening in Gandhinagar. They are expected to discuss the possible post-result scenarios, networking with potential allies—something that Gadkari is good at—and also his role post May 16. Sources claim that the RSS is keen that Gadkari be reinstated in the party ranks with respect due to him now that it is clear that the income-tax (I-T) action against him was motivated. The I-T department in Maha- rashtra has clarified that “there is no enquiry/investigation presently pending” against Gadkari. The department said this in response to a RTI query by Delhi-based activist Sumit Dalal.
The clean chit to Gadkari is likely to shake the existing equations in the BJP, whose leaders are already in the government-formation and portfolio-distribution mode.
Gadkari could be in the reckoning for the post of party president once again. The decks were clear for Gadkari to become the party president in January, 2013, when the IT officials swooped down on 11 locations across Mumbai to verify the existence of shell companies linked to his Purti group. He had cried foul, questioning the timing of the raids. “On the eve of my reelection, these raids smack of the UPA's nefarious designs to create confusion in the BJP ranks,” he had said. In last-minute confabulations, the RSS decided to back Rajnath Singh as party president. “It is going to be an uncomfortable situation, especially with Rajnath Singh publicly claiming that he would prefer to complete his term as party president than join the government,” a senior BJP leader told ET. Sources claim that Singh, being the party president, was eyeing an important portfolio like home ministry.