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Rajnath starts drill for new BJP chief

New Delhi, May 28: Rajnath Singh started the exercise of picking the next BJP president this morning, meeting RSS chief Mohanrao Bhagwat and his senior colleagues Suresh Joshi and Suresh Soni at the Sangh’s headquarters here.

Rajnath quit as the party chief after he was inducted as home minister in the Narendra Modi government.

BJP sources said the choice of the next party chief would determine whether Prime Minister Modi’s writ would continue to run over the party as well.

It is learnt that Modi would like Amit Shah, the general secretary who pulled off the BJP’s resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh in the elections, or Om Mathur to succeed Rajnath.

Mathur, who hails from Rajasthan, has had a long association with Modi by virtue of being the party’s Gujarat minder. Mathur is also close to Shah.

However, the Sangh’s choice is believed to be another general secretary, J.P. Nadda, who was promoted in the organisation by Nitin Gadkari when he was the BJP chief.

The RSS’s hope is that through Nadda, it would have a larger say in the BJP’s matters. If the mantle goes to Shah or Mathur, the Sangh fears Modi’s stranglehold over the government and the party would be absolute.

Rajnath called on Modi after meeting the Sangh brass.