"I am in favour of a contest against Mr Gadkari as BJP president," said Jethmalani. However, overruling media speculations, he later stated that he will not participate in the election and his statement was misinterpreted.
Jethmalani seems to be upset about the possibility of Gadkari being re-elected unopposed after nominations are filed and scrutinised on Jan 23.
Gadkari is facing income tax department summons to explain his association with alleged dubious business transactions linked to the Purti Group. Jethmalani's controversial statement surfaced just a day after RSS's move of cancelling LK Advani's proposal to allow Sushma Swaraj to contest in the poll.
The ideological mentor of BJP asserted that Nitin Gadkari would continue as the party president for the second consecutive time. According to sources, RSS has made it clear that it will not support any other candidate for president.
Gadkari has been facing tremendous opposition from many party leaders including Ram Jethmalani, Yashwant Sinha, LK Advani and Shatrughan Sinha. The anti-Gadkari camp had asserted that allegations against Gadkari in the Maharashtra land scam will compromise the BJP's campaign against corruption.
Ram Jethmalani also had said that Gadkari should not be given the second term as the BJP president as there are serious allegations of corruption against him.