End of road for Gadkari?

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With BJP president Nitin Gadkari in trouble, the BJP and Sangh Parivar are looking for a replacement.
While senior party leader L.K. Advani is pushing for Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, the Sangh is keen on bringing back former party chief Rajnath Singh to the helm of party affairs.

The RSS top brass, which is to hold a three-day meeting in Chennai from November 2, is expected to discuss the Gadkari issue in detail, sources said. Gadkari, who skipped his poll campaign in Himachal Pradesh, on Tuesday cancelled his meeting with Karnataka leaders in the national capital.

Some BJP leaders claimed Gadkari was forced to cancel his trip to Himachal Pradesh after the state unit signalled his campaigning might “have a negative impact”.

The RSS, which has been backing the BJP chief, is now reportedly looking at other options. Sources said a section of RSS leaders is in favour of bringing back the other blue-eyed boy of the Sangh, former party president Rajnath Singh.

With elections approaching and corruption emerging as the main poll plank, the RSS is looking for a “Mr Clean”, sources said. The RSS believes Mr Rajnath Singh “fits the bill”.

However, Advani, who had not been too pleased with Mr Gadkari’s style of functioning, is reportedly backing Swaraj. Sources said Advani, who had been rapidly losing his grip over the party, “expects to regain control if Sushma could be made to replace Gadkari”, a BJP functionary said.

Meanwhile, a dispute has surfaced over Gadkari’s term, which is expected to expire December 26, 2012, as he was appointed party president on December 25, 2009. His camp, however, claimed that since he officially took over as BJP chief on February 11, 2010, “technically” his term should expire February 12, 2013.

Raids on firms that invested in Purti Several teams from the I-T department across India conducted an open inquiry into the addresses of the companies that made investments in BJP president Nitin Gadkari's Purti Sugar and Power.

“The officials conducted an inquiry at 12 places in Mumbai and also in Pune, Nagpur and Kolkata, and have recorded the statements of 13 people who were mentioned as directors“, said an I-T department source. “These companies were started with paid-up capital of `2,000 to `3,000, but later huge amounts were pumped into them“, sources said. “So far, nothing substantial has come out of the searches and these offices as well as people do not seem like they could be companies doing any direct corporate work at all“, said a source.

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