NEW DELHI, Jan 22 – In a sudden and dramatic lastminute twist, Nitin Gadkari, facing allegations of dubious funding of his company, was tonight forced out of the race for BJP president’s post and Rajnath Singh emerged the consensus choice for the office, reports PTI.
In a late-night development, Gadkari issued a statement opting out of the election scheduled tomorrow, saying he did not want that allegations against him should in any way adversely affect the interests of BJP.
“I have, therefore, decided not to seek a second term as the president of BJP,” said Gadkari, who is expected to propose Rajnath Singh’s name tomorrow. The BJP Parliamentary Board will meet tomorrow at 9.30 am to endorse Rajnath’s name and he will file his nomination papers around 11.30 am, party sources said.
Sources close to Rajnath said he was happy that the party has shown immense trust in him and that he has a challenging task in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls. 62-year-old Rajnath, who had preceded Gadkari as BJP president till 2009, emerged the new choice at a hurriedly-called meeting of top leaders, including Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu and RSS representative Ram Lal tonight.
LK Advani, who was dead set against a second term for Gadkari, was away in a place near Mumbai and attended a function with Gadkari but the two did not even exchange a word, reflecting the chill between them.