Agencies, New Delhi
Senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh was today elected unopposed as the party’s 12th president for the next three years even as he said allegations against outgoing party chief Nitin Gadkari are ‘false’ and the whole party is with Mr Gadkari in his ‘’fight for justice’’.
A resolution supporting Mr Singh, a Lok Sabha MP from Ghaziabad, as the next BJP chief, was unanimously adopted by the party’s Parliamentary Board in the morning, after which he filed his nomination papers at the party headquarters here.
BJP in-charge for president election Thawar Chand Gehlot announced Mr Singh’s election in the presence of top party leaders L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ramlal and Ananth Kumar.
The 61-year-old leader from Uttar Pradesh began his term for 2013-2015 by touching Mr Advani’s feet and sounding the poll bugle for the next Lok Sabha elections scheduled for 2014.
Mr Singh, a soft-spoken person, was the BJP chief from 2005 to 2009 also. In a dramatic move, Mr Singh’s name had cropped up in the BJP president election after Mr Gadkari last night announced that he would not seek for a second consecutive term in view of allegations against Mr Gadkari-linked Purti Group.
After his election, Mr Singh slammed the Congress saying the ruling party at the Centre ‘’was responsible for the current political and economic problems of the country’’.
‘’The country is facing troubles today. There is political and economic trouble. The economy has been derailed. Value of rupee is decreasing,’’ he said.
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister criticised Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for his statement that the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) and the BJP were promoting ‘’saffron terror’’.
Mr Singh expressed confidence that the BJP will form the next government at the Centre in 2014 general elections.
‘’I will try my best to fulfill my responsibility under the guidance of Advaniji. We will fulfill the people’s expectations,’’ Mr Singh added.
Congratulating Mr Singh on his election as the BJP president, Mr Advani asked the partymen to ensure that there is no compromise with moral and ethical values.
‘’It is his (Rajnath Singh) special responsibility to ensure that there should be no compromise with moral and ethical values in the party.
We have to prove that the BJP is a party with difference,’’ Mr Advani said.
Mr Advani said Mr Singh now has with him the responsibility of leading the BJP to victory in the upcoming Assembly polls and 2014 general elections.
He said there was also responsibility of the new BJP chief to revive the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, where the party’s position was ‘painful’.
‘’Rajnath has focused on agricultural issues and farmers in
and outside Parliament. I am sure he will take the party forward on these principles,’’ Mr Advani added.
Defending Mr Gadkari, Mr Singh said it was ‘unfortunate’ that allegations were levelled against Mr Gadkari. He said the allegations were ‘false’.
Mr Singh said the whole BJP was with Mr Gadkari in his fight.
Mr Gadkari was almost sure to become the party chief for the second time as he was being backed by the RSS, the ideological mentor of the BJP.
However, the whole scenario changed after reports spread that Income Tax Department conducted on-field inquiries on some
alleged shell companies which had invested in Purti Group.
The reports were followed by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha threatening to contest against Mr Gadkari.
There were also reports that Mr Advani had recommended the
name of senior party leader Sushma Swaraj for the next party
chief but the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha did not agree on it.
However, Mr Gadkari termed the IT Department’s move as
‘’calculated, mischievous and politically motivated’’.
He alleged that the department was dragging his name to malign his image.
He said he decided not to seek second consecutive term as the party chief because of a ‘’political conspiracy’’ by the
Congress-led UPA government.
‘’I have committed no wrong. As far as the election for a
second term is concerned, there had been attempts through a
political conspiracy to link me to an issue I was not related to,’’ Mr Gadkari claimed.
Mr Advani, who was said to be against a second term for Mr Gadkari, also praised him saying that he was an expert in infrastructure, and used to work late into the night for the BJP.
He said Mr Gadkari has been a dedicated worker of the party.
Mr Advani said Mr Gadkari has ‘frustrated’ the BJP’s political opponents.
The BJP’s Parliamentary Board also appreciated Mr Gadkari’s term as the BJP president.
‘’The Parliamentary Board places on record its sense of deep appreciation for the leadership provided by Nitin Gadkari to the party during his tenure as the president of the BJP,’’ party General Secretary Ananth Kumar told reporters here.