The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday said that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), its ideological fountainhead, was not interfering in choosing the next party president.
BJP leader and former party president Venkaiah Naidu said that while both the organisations share an "ideological bond", structurally and functionally, they are "independent and autonomous".
"We discuss matters of mutual and national interest. But unless asked for, the RSS never proffers any advice to the BJP. Different names are being discussed in the BJP for the presidentship of the party. No name was suggested or rejected by the RSS and no name has been finalised by the party so far," Naidu said in a statement.
The BJP statement comes amidst reports that the RSS has thrown its weight behind Maharashtra leader Nitin Gadkari for being made the next BJP chief. Naidu, whose name was also doing the rounds for the post, clarified that he is not in the race.
"The process of consultation is on and there will be unanimous choice of the next president at an appropriate time. In this connection, I would like to state that I have already conveyed to my colleagues that I am neither in the race nor interested to become president once again as I had been the party president once," said Naidu.
Naidu also refuted reports of the RSS seeking veteran leader LK Advani's resignation as leader of the opposition.
He added: "The party is keen to have his (Advani's) leadership and guidance and will go by his choice about the time and the person."