A day after Nitin Gadkari lost his second term as BJP president to Rajnath Singh following objections being raised over alleged business irregularities in the Purti Group, patriarch LK Advani stressed on the fact that the party should stand out among others in terms of ethics.
The crux of Advani's message at the ceremony, held to announce Singh's appointment as BJP chief, pertained to that of internal correction. In an oblique assertion that the change of guard was for the greater good, he said, “Gadkari has disappointed our opponents.”
But Singh, the compromise choice of the RSS for the top post, used the opportunity to reach out to the Sangh. He admitted that “our” choice Gadkari had fallen to a conspiracy, and hit out at home minister Sushil Shinde over his remarks on RSS involvement in “Hindu terror”.
“Among our prominent people, let no dearth of honesty and morality be perceived. In the last two-three years, corruption has become a prime issue,” Advani told party leaders. “Rajnath Singh must foster the image that there will be no compromise on ethical behaviour.”
Hailing the impressive turnout of party workers at the ceremony, Advani said Singh should aim to achieve two goals — spreading the supposedly urban party’s influence among rural voters, and reviving the influence of the BJP in UP, Singh’s home state.
Singh’s speech clearly reached out to the RSS, which zeroed in on him after Advani's constant opposition made Gadkari bow out. "Never in the past were questions raised against Gadkari. We all wanted him. But he quit as he was hurt over baseless charges, saying he won’t hold the post till proved innocent,” Singh said.
Earlier, Gadkari had spoken of a conspiracy to defame him at a time when the second term was being considered, and said he bowed out because the party’s image was foremost in his eyes.