Speculation continued over Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Maharashtra unit chief Nitin Gadkari, whose name has been thrown up as the surprise choice of the party's next president, even as senior leaders refused to either confirm or deny this.
"I can't say anything right now. I am neither confirming it nor denying it. No final decision has been taken as yet," said a BJP spokesperson, who wished not to be named, deepening the media buzz.
Party sources said that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has thrown his weight behind Gadkari's appointment as the party president, giving him an upper edge over former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar whose name was also doing the rounds.
The party's national president, to replace Rajnath Singh, has to be appointed by the year end.
Gadkari, who is in Delhi at present, said noncommitally that he would take up whatever responsibility given to him. He also said he is not in any race for the post.
"Though the party didn't preform well in the recently held Maharashtra assembly elections, it does not seems to have anyway effected his chances for the party's top job. He is seen as a development-oriented leader and also has a clean image," a BJP leader at the party headquarters told IANS.
"However, the only hitch in his appointment seems to be his lack of a national stature and his experience as compared to other national leaders at Delhi," he added.