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No move to replace Rajnath till LS polls

The BJP leaders have scotched the talk of LK Advani wanting Rajnath, whose term ends in February next year, to be replaced by some other leader, reports Shekhar Iyer.

delhi Updated: Jun 26, 2008 01:36 IST
Shekhar Iyer

Ever since LK Advani was named BJP's prime ministerial candidate six months ago, senior party leaders have spoken to one another to pledge to sink their differences for the party's sake and realise its dream of coming to power and seeing the Leader of Opposition ensconced in the PMO.

That pledge, say BJP insiders, has seen better coordination and a more visible synergy among top leaders for the Lok Sabha polls. These leaders who include BJP president Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj, and Arun Jaitely have concluded that the party needed to gets its act together.

Even leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who may have been perceived by the party cadres as different from the lot, have said they wanted to give their best cooperation. The BJP leaders have said they will work under the leadership of Rajnath Singh, who is the chairman of the party’s election and campaign management committee. Rajnath will remain the BJP chief till the Lok Sabha polls, though his term ends in February next year. They have scotched the talk of Advani wanting Rajnath to be replaced by some other leader.

Venkaiah Naidu, who heads a core group of leaders for election management, has conveyed to Rajnath that he has no intention to occupy any post or replace him, but wants to actively involve himself in election work.

Naidu was BJP chief during the last Lok Sabha polls. He had come up with “Mission 2004” plan, which has now been “suitably amended” for the 2009 polls.

“I do not mind doing the job of coordination, I know several leaders in the states. It is easier for me and I don’t stand on prestige. I have told Advani and Rajnath that I am available for any work,” Naidu told HT.

Rajnath said, “Everyone in the BJP is now focused on the big goal and is ready to sink all differences to achieve that. We are solving organisational problems in each state as required. The same medicine doesn’t work everywhere.”

The BJP central election committee and the core group of the election management committee are to meet on Thursday to kickstart preparations for the Assembly elections in MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi as also the Lok Sabha elections. Advani is set to launch a major campaign for UP at Kanpur on June 27.

"No candidates will be finalised on Thursday, but the election committee would finalise the procedure and set the timetable for selection of the candidates," Naidu said.