With polling for the next BJP president being completed in 16 of the party’s 36 state units, just short of the 50% requirement for Nitin Gadkari’s re-election, party leaders are already trying to come to terms with the fast-changing power dynamics within.
The expectation: Gadkari's return will mark the RSS' supremacy over BJP affairs. Another subtle change will be the gradual rise of Narendra Modi, who may be declared the party's central campaign committee chief later this year to bring his role "on a par" with Rahul Gandhi's in the Congress.
However, officially, the collective leadership line is likely to continue so as not to irk key ally JD(U). The question, however, remains whether Modi is okay with such a role, and how comfortable the JD(U) would be with such an arrangement.
The Bihar election is slated for Thursday, though there was a buzz that it may get held up for a while. "Mangal Pandey is set to replace CP Thakur," a BJP leader told HT.
Uttarakhand is also likely to complete its presidential poll on Thursday or Friday, clearing the decks for the notification of the presidential poll being issued around January 23.
Party patriarch LK Advani — who was unhappy with Gadkari continuing in his post — seems to have toned down his opposition, as indicated by Ram Jethmalani's move of making peace with Gadkari.
Sources say Advani wanted a change at the helm, but did not agree to Rajnath Singh's name — which cropped up as an alternative. He was believed to be keen on pushing
Sushma Swaraj's name for the top post, but she was reportedly content being the leader of the opposition. Significantly, Swaraj had backed Gadkari when he was accused of business irregularities.