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BJP's polls advanced; Rajnath may carry on

Asked whether he would be re-elected, he said, "I leave it to you. I am the president today".

india Updated: May 13, 2006 20:57 IST

The BJP has advanced the dates for electing its national president amidst strong indications that Rajnath Singh would get re-elected.

"The membership drive campaign across the country would be completed by June 30 and by January the national president would also be elected", Singh told reporters after a meeting of the party's central office-bearers.

Asked whether he would be re-elected, he said, "I leave it to you. I am the president today".

Singh's current tenure coincides with that of the party's national council, which expires in February next year.

However, with elections to crucial states, including Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal, scheduled for early next year, the party wants to expedite its organisational poll process so as to remain battle-ready.

Singh was made the party Chief after LK Advani stepped down following a spat with RSS on the Jinnah issue. Advani himself had taken over from M Venkaiah Naidu, who resigned in the wake of the party's May 2004 Lok Sabha debacle.

The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister enjoys the backing of the Sangh Parivar. With Pramod Mahajan's death, there is no other second generation leader in the party who could be in the race for the top post.

Moreover, with polls to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly scheduled early next year, Singh's continuation as party Chief is being widely seen as a strategically wise step.