BJP, RSS differ over 2nd term for Nitin Gadkari

BJP, RSS differ over 2nd term for Nitin Gadkari

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are divided on the issue of giving a second term to the incumbent party president Nitin Gadkari.

Gadkari’s term as the youngest BJP president would come to an end by December this year but he “hopes” to get a second two-year term with the support of the RSS.

According to well placed sources, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is favouring a second-term for Gadkari but a section in the Sangh Parivar has not ruled out BJP Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the top party post.

Sources said in the recent meetings senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi also staked his claim  stressing the point that he had “ a clean image” and “stature and seniority” for the post.

Poor performance

Poll reverses in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have given ammunition to the detractors of Gadkari, who want to make him accountable for the party’s poor poll performances.

“ It is likely that with the support of the RSS chief,  Gadkari’s term may be extended,” said a party leader who is not a camp follower in the party.  There are many others who also maintain this line.

The 55-year old BJP president, who succeeded Rajnath Singh in December 2009 (then 52), has chosen to act independently by appointing Sanjay Joshi, former party general secretary and an arch rival of Modi,  as main coordinator for the Uttar Pradesh polls.

Modi did not come to UP for campaigning, protesting Joshi’s appointment. Similarly, television actor Smiriti Irani was appointed BJP women Wing president and thereafter Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat at the behest of Gadkari.

Latest controversy

Gadkari’s closest aide Ajay Sancheti was also elected to the Rajya Sabha on BJP ticket from Maharashtra. Sancheti later came in the line of fire over the Comptroller Auditor General of India report on coal blocks allotment by the BJP government in Gujarat.

The latest controversy involving Gadkari was over extending the party’s support to NRI Anshuman Mishra as an independent candidate from Jharkakhand. Senior BJP leaders including L K Advani, Yashwant Sinha , Joshi and others opposed the move.
But many within the party are not sure whether Modi would throw his hat into the ring after the Gujarat assembly elections, scheduled for the year end.

“The issue of extending Gadkari’s term is wide open...,” said a senior central leader while suggesting that odds were not against the incumbent.

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