The Telegraph
Tuesday , November 27 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sangh’s Nitin fixation

New Delhi, Nov. 26: Mohanrao Bhagwat, the RSS sarsanghachalak, is still inclined to give Nitin Gadkari a second innings as BJP president, said sources with “privileged access” to the Sangh leadership.

There is a growing clamour in the BJP that even if Gadkari’s tenure is extended by three years, Narendra Modi should be frontlined as the “people’s choice”, an honorific that would bolster his claim for projection as prime-ministerial choice in 2014.

“There is no stopping this process,” a young MP said. “It boils down to the kind of mandate he secures for us in Gujarat and on whether he adds substantially to his 2007 tally of 117 seats or subtracts from it. If he adds, even the Sangh’s wise men will not be able to resist the kind of pro-Modi pressure that’s building from below.”

In recent interactions Bhagwat held with BJP members and civil society representatives to assess the impact of the rows shrouding Gadkari, he gave an “impression” that the “canards” against his protégé from Nagpur were either “media-created” or “inspired” from within the party by detractors working to deny the BJP boss another term.

Sources said Sangh leaders reportedly contended that if the Congress stood by members implicated in graft charges, why did the BJP have to “sacrifice” its “victims” each time a row erupted and gave the examples of Bangaru Laxman, Sanjay Joshi and Uma Bharti.

Sources said the BJP’s organisational polls are under way and at least four or five states have elected their presidents and other office-bearers.

The norm was although the national president was “elected” only after 50 per cent of the states were done with their elections, the incumbent was almost always known and he even made it a point to “informally” start interacting with the new functionaries to establish a working relationship.

“There is no such buzz this time which causes many of us to conclude that Bhagwat will have his way and Gadkari will possibly get a second term,” a BJP official said.

On whether Modi would relocate to Delhi if he delivered a hat-trick in Gujarat, sources said the shift was “unlikely” to take place immediately.