In a sudden and dramatic last-minute 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 appeared to have emerged as the consensus candidate.
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,” he said.
Gadkari, whose candidature was being strongly pushed by RSS despite reservations within the party, was all set for re-election before senior leader Yashwant Sinha decided this evening to throw his hat in tomorrow’s polls.
The move by Sinha, who had earlier demanded Gadkari’s resignation in the wake of allegations of impropriety by his firm Purti Group, forced top BJP leaders including Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu and RSS representative Ram Lal into a huddle to deliberate on the evolving situation.
After the meeting, Rajnath Singh’s name emerged as the consensus alternative, sources said.
62-year-old Rajnath, who had served as BJP president till 2009 before Gadkari, is also considered close to RSS and that appeared to have tilted the balance in his favour.
Sources said Gadkari is expected to propose Rajnath Singh’s name for the top party post tomorrow.