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Jan 23, 2013 at 11:46pm IST

Rajnath Singh emerges BJP President amid party's unresolved leadership issues

New Delhi: After all the drama and the suspense, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unanimously elected Rajnath Singh as party's president, capping last minute dramatic turn of events which saw Nitin Gadkari being forced out of the race for the second term. Ironically, Singh's name was also endorsed by the very man who was forced to quit - Gadkari.

"I ask the party president. There should not be any compromise on probity and integrity," veteran BJP leader LK Advani said. Advani sent a clear message to Gadkari's biggest supporter, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on why he exercised his veto to not allow Gadkari a second term in office.

On Wednesday, the party's Parliamentary Board met in the morning for a valedictory session on Gadkari. The bitterly divided BJP camp displayed solidarity as Rajnath Singh filed his nomination papers for the president post, with all the top leaders by his side.

Outside the party office, Rajnath supporters gathered in large numbers to welcome the man, who after his first stint in the office lurked in the shadows to reclaim the president's post.

It all happened within a span of twelve hours. Until Tuesday afternoon, Gadkari was all set to be renominated for the second term, before Advani put his foot down and sought consensus of a different nominee.

Gadkari then spoke to top RSS leaders in Mumbai and offered not to contest, but was asked to wait. However, by that time, party leader Yashwant Sinha had sought a copy of nomination papers from the party office, indicating his willingness to enter the fray.

Gadkari then proposed Rajnath Singh's name, who is also widely seen to be RSS's choice. A section in the party also pushed for Venkaiah Naidu, however, RSS insisted on Rajnath, who then emerged as the consensus choice.

"I decided not to seek the second term till the time I am cleared of all the allegations against me," Gadkari said, referring to the allegations made against him that associate him with dubious funding of his company, Purti Group.

BJP has devised a unique formula of selecting its presidents through elimination. It is a manifestation of the festering and unresolved leadership issues within the party, something which even the RSS could not resolve by sending a person of their choice to the national capital as the party president.

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