The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 14 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cong sees gain in BJP pain

New Delhi, Nov. 13: The Congress may not have succeeded in turning the tide of negativity but it has not given up primarily because it is convinced the BJP too is not in robust health and principal rival’s leadership crises could only deepen in the coming months.

The Congress feels while BJP president Nitin Gadkari has been discredited and would be more a liability than an asset, the splitting dilemma over Narendra Modi’s projection as the next prime ministerial candidate would not allow the BJP to amicably settle the leadership issue.

The Congress believes Gadkari is dispensable and may not be at the helm of affairs for long but Modi would continue to be both the BJP’s asset and problem.

The corruption charges against Gadkari have come as such a boon for the Congress that a senior leader conceded: “We would have faced serious trouble in the winter session of Parliament; even the fall of the government was a possibility. Not anymore.

“The Yeddyurappa episode somewhat blunted the BJP’s attack on corruption, the Gadkari episode has deflated it. Now there can’t be consolidation of anti-Congress forces around the BJP.”

Asked if the BJP would be able to reclaim ground by dumping Gadkari, the leader suggested it would be difficult. “The slur on a party president is not easily forgettable. The BJP has lost it. We thought the (Robert) Vadra episode would encourage parties to realign and isolate the Congress. We will manage to survive and not only present a good budget next February but also choose our own timing of election. If Gadkari continues, even better for us.”

Congress spokespersons say the BJP is the only party to see one of its presidents (Bangaru Laxman) caught on camera taking bribes and another (Gadkari) involved in alleged financial wrong-doings. The decision to have Gadkari’s deeds probed by RSS activist S. Gurumurthy prompted Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit to question the exercise.

“The BJP, which seeks to discredit probes by the CBI, JPC, courts and other law-enforcing agencies, is ready to give a clean chit to its own president by holding its own inquiry,” he said.

That’s not all. Recent allegations by RSS veteran M.G. Vaidya that Modi was behind the campaign against Gadkari have delighted the Congress, which believes the claim will intensify squabbles in the BJP.