Even as senior party leader L K Advani called for “no compromise” on “political corruption”, Rajnath Singh, who was formally elected as the BJP president on Wednesday, seemed to play to the RSS gallery as he declared his support for outgoing party president Nitin Gadkari.
Addressing the gathering after Singh’s election, Advani said: “Political corruption as an issue is in the centrestage these days. It is Rajnath Singh’s responsibility to establish that there will no compromise with the unethical behaviour within the ranks. There should be no trace of shortcomings on count of ethical and honest behaviour among our important leaders.”
Advani, however, lauded Gadkari for deciding not to seek a second term, saying his decision will “disappoint the opponents” and instill “confidence” in the common man.
Rejecting the allegations against Gadkari, Singh said: “The circumstances surrounding my taking up this responsibility are not pleasant at all. We all wanted him to be elected as party president again and we even amended the party constitution. But the way baseless allegations were levelled against him, he said he would resign and not hold any post till his name is cleared.”
In an apparent assurance to the RSS, Singh told Gadkari: “You are not alone, the whole BJP will remain firmly behind you in this battle for justice.”
Speaking on the occasion, Gadkari sought to take the moral high ground, saying he volunteered to step down and “suggested” that a new person should be considered for the top job in the wake of attempts “to malign the party by raking up allegations under a political conspiracy” against him. He claimed that he had suggested Singh’s name as an alternative.
Urging party cadres to shed their “differences”, Advani said: “We in the BJP have to prove that we are a party with a difference and not the party with differences as our opponents try to make it out to be.” He expressed his satisfaction that Singh was elected “unanimously” to lead the party.
Speaking to the media later, Singh said enhancing “mutual coordination” within the party leadership was on top of his agenda. “Enhancing mutual coordination is a priority for me,” he said.
“I called up Shri Rajnath Singhji and congratulated him. He brings with him vast experience of both organisation and administration,” tweeted Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan chose to be present for Singh’s election.
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