New Delhi, Oct.24 (ANI): The rank and file of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was somewhat left in a state of confusion on Wednesday, after senior party leader L.K.Advani came out strongly in support of party president Nitin Gadkari, and rejected all allegations of corruption against the latter.
Advani claimed there was a "conspiracy" against Gadkari, and that it was aimed at "deflecting attention" from the graft charges confronting the UPA Government.
With the parent body, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) describing the corruption charges against Gadkari as an internal matter of for the BJP to solve, Advani's support for the BJP president has left many in the party worried.
There are some in the BJP who feel that the allegations against Gadkari, viz-a-vis the activities of his Purti Group, will dent the main opposition party's image in the run-up to the 2014 general elections.
The BJP has, for some time now, made corruption a key political plank to attack the ruling UPA with.
But now, a reverse pressure is building up with a demand from the Congress and other parties for an inquiry against Gadkari.
Gadkari was handpicked by the RSS to head the political arm of the Sangh Parivar and rules were recently amended to allow him the second term, much to the chagrin of many top party leaders.
The spiraling controversy and allegations of a conflict of interest between his roles as a political leader and a businessman could well make Mr Gadkari's position untenable.
Today, the BJP chief, in full RSS uniform, is attending a Vijayadashmi function in Nagpur.
Gadkari has refused to answer any questions on the controversy.
RSS spokesperson Dr Manmohan Vaidya said the allegations against Gadkari appeared to be a media trial.
He said: "The RSS is not in the picture. Let the BJP respond to it. We have not issued any ultimatum and have not sought any explanation. The fight against corruption will go on. Nothing will affect it."
On Tuesday, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking for an investigation into who funds the business set up by Gadkari in 2000.
A report by a television channel revealed that several of the 18 companies who have invested in Gadkari's Purti Power and Sugar have no addresses.
Many of them are headquartered in the same small room in Mumbai, pointing to the strong possibility of shell investors.
In some cases, different investors share directors, and Gadkari's driver, Manohar Panse, are shown as directors of a company that allegedly provides Purti with shares worth a little over three crores.
There is also a report of a company that was hired for enormous infrastructure projects when Gadkari was Maharashtra's Public Works Department Minister.
Gadkari has, so far, denied that any investment was made by the Ideal Road Builders Group, and that it was a quid pro quo for the massive contracts it won when he was in public office in Maharashtra.
Gadkari claims that he stepped down last year as Chairman of Purti.
Digvijay Singh has asked in his letter to the Prime Minister for an investigation by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. (ANI)