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Body blow to party

For the BJP, Pramod Mahajan could not have found himself in a critical state at a more crucial time. As general secretary and close aide to BJP chief Rajnath Singh, Mahajan was playing the all-important role of strategist-cum-organiser. After he was blamed for the BJP?s poor show at the 2004 general elections, recently Mahajan had been getting back in the reckoning.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2006 13:38 IST

For the BJP, Pramod Mahajan could not have found himself in a critical state at a more crucial time. As general secretary and close aide to BJP chief Rajnath Singh, Mahajan was playing the all-important role of strategist-cum-organiser. After he was blamed for the BJP’s poor show at the 2004 general elections, recently Mahajan had been getting back in the reckoning.

In the aftermath of the Jinnah crisis, Mahajan quickly sided with the RSS and backed its choice of Rajnath Singh. He managed to get close to Singh, edging out other second-line leaders.

He was getting ready to plunge into UP and had accompanied party nominee Vinay Khatiyar to file nomination papers on April 19. But with the need to project Kalyan Singh as CM, Mahajan was given charge of the neighbouring Uttaranchal, which also goes to polls in February 2007.

As in-charge of Assam for the recent Assembly elections, he had travelled across the state over the last two months. The BJP had ruled out the possibility of great results after its ally, the AGP, joined hands with the Left to challenge the Congress. But under Mahajan’s supervision, the party fought alone in Assam. Mahajan had also pledged to make the BJP play an indispensable role after the results were announced on May 11.

His uncanny style has won him admirers within the cadre and his adversaries too hold him in high regard. It thus comes as no surprise that the news of his tragedy has sent the political class into a state of shock. L K Advani and Rajnath Singh broke their `yatras’ and rushed to Mumbai. And both the PM and Sonia Gandhi have written to Mahajan’s wife Rekha, wishing his early recovery.