“Not averse to quitting early as BJP chief”

Rajnath Singh appears to be not averse to quitting as BJP president if there is an consensus.

Updated: Nov 17, 2009, 09:48 AM IST

New Delhi: Rajnath Singh on Monday night appeared to be not averse to quitting as BJP president if there is an early consensus on his successor.

Amid talk of the RSS backing Maharashtra BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, Singh, whose tenure ends on December 31, made it clear that his term is virtually over and would like an early decision on the succession issue.

"In a way, my term as president has come to an end. At the right time, I will hand over the reins to the new president to bring in a change of responsibility," Singh said.

When asked whether he had set a deadline to quit as party president, Singh said, "I have not decided the date as yet."

However, Singh said he would abide by any consensus arrived at by the party on the issue.

Singh said he wanted the ongoing organisational elections in the state units of the party to be completed soon.

"I want that the organisational elections be completed at the earliest and there should be no undue delay."

The new president can be elected only when polls to 50 per cent of the state units are completed. As of now, this seems unlikely before December 31.

Sources close to Singh said in case the process runs into February or March, the BJP chief is unlikely to wait that long. Singh was elected as party president on November 26, 2006 and may treat that as the deadline.

There is media speculation that once Singh quits there may be pressure on top BJP leader L K Advani quitting as Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha to be in line with the generational change being ushered in the BJP.

Bureau Report