|Nitin Gadkari being garlanded by partymen at a rally in Chhatarpur in Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)
New Delhi, Jan. 20: Nitin Gadkari is expected to file his nomination for the BJP president’s post on January 23 and get elected for a second term unopposed, BJP sources said.
The “election” schedule released by the party today has slated nominations, scrutiny and withdrawals all on the same day. If an election becomes necessary, the returning officer will announce a date but the eventuality seems unlikely following a Sangh diktat in Gadkari’s favour.
The Sangh has overruled the objections raised against Gadkari by L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, saying the financial allegations against his company were levelled by a media lobby they suspected was “put up” by Gadkari’s BJP rivals.
To placate Advani, the Sangh had suggested he was free to evolve a consensus on another candidate of his choice. But Advani’s choice, Sushma Swaraj, said she preferred to function as Lok Sabha Opposition leader.
A source close to Advani denied reports that in his zeal to scupper Gadkari’s prospects, the veteran had even thought of backing Narendra Modi for the post.
On Saturday, Sangh leaders conveyed to Advani that a “consensus” had been reached on Gadkari and that everyone in the BJP should support him in his second innings.
As the Advani era that had reached its zenith during the Ayodhya movement of the late ’80s and early ’90s appears set to end, the only BJP leader who now seems to “matter” to the Sangh is Modi, a BJP source said.
Armed with Modi’s consent, Sangh chief Mohanrao Bhagwat and his team are confident of seeing Gadkari through.
All eyes will be on the organisational revamp Gadkari effects after his election. What’s of immediate interest is whether he inducts Modi into the central parliamentary board and central election committee, the party’s highest policy and decision-making panels.
If he does, it will signal the beginning of Modi’s shift from Gandhinagar to Delhi to assume the mantle of party leadership in 2014.