New Delhi: In a new twist to the tale, Nitin Gadkari, facing allegations of dubious funding of his company, was on Tuesday forced out of the race for BJP president's post and Rajnath Singh emerged the consensus choice for the office.
A decision in this regard was taken during a meeting held at senior party leader Arun Jaitley’s residence. The meeting was attended by BJP top brass including Sushma Swaraj, M Venkaiah Naidu and RSS representative Ram Lal.
Growing opposition to the incumbent BJP president Nitin Gadkari probably forced the party to rethink on the issue.
A camp led by BJP veteran LK Advani was against Gadkari’s candidature after he was accused of financial impropriety. Infact, the name of Sushma Swaraj was also doing the rounds.
Rajnath Singh has been a former BJP president till 2009. He has also been a former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Rajnath Singh is considered close to RSS and that appeared to have tilted the balance in his favour. Earlier Gadkari's candidature was being strongly pushed by RSS despite reservations within the party.
The BJP parliamentary board will meet tomorrow and approve his name. With the former UP CM tipped to become the next party president, Nitin Gadkari formally resigned from the party president's post.
Issuing a statement he said that he will not stand for a second term for the party president and that he will continue to work for the party.
Putting up a brave face, Gadkari told reporters, “"I have decided not to seek a second term as the president of BJP. Whatever role the party gives me, I will fulfil that.” “There has been an attempt to malign the BJP. All the allegations levelled against me are wrong,” he added.
Like pot-boiler, the election for the BJP president has seen a lot of turns and twists. Earlier today there were reports of senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha also being in the fray.
As per reports, Yashwant Sinha had collected the nomination papers from party headquarters. However, there was no official comment from his side as to whether he would take on Nitin Gadkari.
A section of the BJP had been opposed to the re-election of Gadkari with senior leaders like Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Shatrughan Sinha and Ram Jethmalani publicly taking on the BJP president.
Another BJP leader Mahesh Jethmalani had also said that he would go for a 'token’ fight against Nitin Gadkari. However, as per rules of the party only a person who has been an ordinary member of the BJP for the past 15 years can stand for the election of the top post. And Jethmalani does not fit the bill.
First Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 17:12