The Bharatiya Janata Party begins a three-day conclave of its leaders from all over the country on Wednesday to decide on the road ahead for the party that has suffered two consecutive defeats in the Lok Sabha elections and has seen a generational change at the top.
The National Executive meeting tomorrow and the National Council on Feb 18 and 19, esssentially to formally ratify the election of Nitin Gadkari as the party President, are expected to provide an opportunity to the leaders to introspect and think of the strategy ahead to make the organisation effective and broaden the NDA.
This is the first meeting of the National Council after the defeat in the May, 2009 Lok Sabha elections after which dissent within the party grew and the RSS intervened to effect a leadership change to the 'GenNext'.
Since then, the BJP brought in 52-year-old Gadkari from Maharashtra as the party President, the youngest to occupy the post in the last 30 years since it was formed, and made Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha respectively.
The changes are being seen as a generational shift in the major opposition with party veteran L K Advani, 83, being made the Parliamentary Party Chairman, a move that indicates that he has taken a backseat.
The emergence of Gadkari, Swaraj and Jaitley as the new power trio has come at a time when the ruling Congress has seen that a young Rahul Gandhi has come to the fore and become the key leader in the ruling alliance along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.