In his first interview since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slipped into a crisis over the results of the recently held Lok Sabha polls, party chief Rajnath Singh clarified that he does not need to hold a post to serve the BJP.
“I have served as the party chief for more than three years now. As my term gets over next year, I am open about my future role. I have never hankered for any post, nor am I seeking one now,” Rajnath, who turned 58 on Friday, told HT. He also refuted reports that he was seeking an extension to his term.
Rajnath dismissed suggestions that the recent wrangling among the BJP leaders had any link with him finding a slot after his term gets over in January next year.
He termed BJP general secretary Thwar Chand Gehlot’s proposal for a five-year term for all posts (mooted at the BJP parliamentary board recently) as his own idea — and not a ruse to help him get an extension.
“…Did I ever strive for any position? Why should I do it now,” he asked.
Rajnath said it was not clear as yet who would be his successor but he expected the name to “evolve” in the next few months.
Asked about his ties with Arun Jaitley, who was picked by L.K. Advani to head the party in the Rajya Sabha after his stint as chief party strategist for the polls, Rajnath said: “Too much was written about us (by the media).”
“I don’t see any bitterness. Difference of opinion among us is possible on some issues but one can’t describe it as bitterness.”
Rajnath held that the bitterness that characterized the post- Lok Sabha poll mood in the party was over.
Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie might have written letters, which rocked the party, but “everyone is back to finding ways to rectify past mistakes and put the BJP back on track.”
He said he did not think any one person is responsible for either defeat or victory. “It’s always collective.”
Asked why then had he accepted moral responsibility for the election debacle, Rajnath said: “If I don’t accept (responsibility), who else will?
Being the party chief, I have to do so.”