I-T Clean Chit to Gad­kari, May Get Party Chief Seat

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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.

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