Rajnath offers to quit as BJP chief.
ONCE the band of ageing brothers in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ( RSS) decided to install Nitin Gadkari in the BJP president's chair, there was little else anyone could do.
While L. K. Advani has remained characteristically stoic, current president Rajnath Singh made the only move he could under the circumstances.
It transpired on Monday that he has conveyed to his ideological masters in Jhandewalan that he no longer wishes to continue as BJP president. Predictably, he did not deem it fit to notify anyone in the BJP of his decision.
Singh was appointed by the Sangh and the news of his desire to resign, too, emanated from the RSS headquarters. the BJP top leadership remained blissfully ignorant of this intriguing development till late Monday evening.
Singh's tenure comes to an end on December 31 and the BJP is in the process of holding organisational elections to select the next president.
But it's is a bizarre situation where the RSS has already made the selection for the BJP president.
The Sangh has apparently decided to anoint Gadkari, the BJP's Maharashtra unit chief, as the party's national president.
An interim announcement to this effect is likely in December after the Jharkhand election results are announced.
Inexplicably, however, the BJP is going ahead with the process of holding organisational polls to elect the president.
The party constitution requires that at least 50 per cent of the state units should elect their presidents and representatives to the national council that forms the electoral college for the president.
Each state sends representatives to the electoral college in accordance with the number of Lok Sabha constituencies in there, plus 10 per cent of the total number of party MPs from the state.
For instance, Delhi with its seven Lok Sabha seats would have seven elected representatives in the BJP's electoral college plus 10 per cent of the MPs.
It is presumed that now that the RSS has decided, the national council with all its elected members from various states will elect an already selected president.
Singh has suddenly decided to dissociate himself from the ongoing organisational election charade. There are two reasons being offered for him no longer continuing with the RSS's gameplan.
" By giving up his post, he hopes to save himself the embarrassment of being a lame duck president. The move will also embarrass Advani ji ," said a BJP insider.
Advani's insistence on getting re- elected as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha -- despite the fact that the party lost the general election with him being projected as the prime ministerial candidate -- caused irreparable damage to his reputation and public esteem.
But he has dug in his heels for the stated purpose of ensuring a " smooth transition" in the BJP leadership. By offering to resign, Singh hopes to correct this impression.
" Once Advani is gone, the slot of the Leader of Opposition falls vacant. Though Sushma Swaraj is the natural contender for this post, it will still be up for grabs and Singh may well be considered," said a BJP insider.
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