Posted On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 08:05:36 AM
New Delhi - In a sudden and dramatic last-minute twist, Nitin Gadkari, facing allegations of dubious funding of his company, was on Tuesday night forced out of the race for President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rajnath Singh appeared to have emerged 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 the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (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 Wednesday’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 consenses alternative, sources said. Rajnath (62), who served as BJP president till 2009 before Gadkari, is also considered close to RSS and that appeared to tilt the balance in his favour. Sources said Gadkari is expected to propose Rajnath Singh’s name for the top party post tomorrow.
► I do not want that allegations against me should in any way adversely affect the interests of the BJP
- Nitin Gadkari