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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

Election of BJP prez may get pushed to month-end

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 13, 2013
First Published: 23:22 IST(13/1/2013) | Last Updated: 01:25 IST(14/1/2013)

The election of new BJP president could be delayed until the end of this month or early February even as RSS and BJP leaders confabulate over granting a second term to BJP chief Nitin Gadkari.

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Under BJP's constitution, at least 50% of the 35 state units must complete their internal polls for the national president to be elected. So far only 14 units have completed the process.

Four more states — Bihar, Uttarkhand, Punjab and Chandigarh — are expected to complete their elections by end of this month, and thereby make up for the half of the total number of BJP states, which would have elected their chiefs.

Earlier, BJP general secretary Thwarchand Gehlot, who is the returning officer for the internal elections, had expected at least, 22 to 28 units to complete their internal elections by December 28. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/1/14_01-pg13a.jpg

The president's poll schedule could then have been announced around January 10.

Gadkari's first appointment on a three-year term was announced in December 2009. He took the formal charge in January 2010.

BJP's statute was amended in October by its national council to allow a second term for a BJP president. The move was intended to help Gadkari continue in office. But a row over shares held by Purti Group, once owned by his family, put a question mark on his future.

The RSS, has, however held that Gadkari was not guilty of any wrongdoing but some BJP leaders held that the episode robbed the party of its ability to take on the Congress.

In fact, the Sangh's first response to reports of the income tax department issuing summons to Gadkari to appear before it, was that it was intended to scuttle the grant of a second term by some people.

Meanwhile, the Congress on Sunday took a dig at Gadkari over these reports and said the BJP should now retrospect the leadership of its national president. "It is a personal matter, but he (Gadkari) is the president of the BJP and in these days he always in news regarding corruption charges. So, the BJP should think over it," said Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi.

However, BJP vice president Mukkhtar Abbas Naqvi denied reports of I-T summons to Gadkari and alleged that it was a plot to malign his image. "There is no such official notice. These are all source based information. Somebody is behind this propaganda and trying to malign Gadkari's image. Gadkari himself has offered for the inquiry," said Naqvi.

Last week, senior BJP leader LK Advani, who has opposed Gadkari's renomination, appeared to have soften his stand when he brokered a truce between Gadkari and BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani in exchange for revoking the suspension of the latter from the primary membership of the party.


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