BJP PRESIDENT Rajnath Singh on Saturday gave clear indications that he was interested in fighting the 2009 Lok Sabha elections as the party’s candidate for the prime minister’s post.
Addressing the BJP national council soon after it ratified his election as party chief for the next three years, Singh likened himself to a “bridegroom” as the BJP began a quest for return to power. He said the BJP’s first target would be to return to power in Uttar Pradesh, which will go to assembly polls early next year, and then move to Delhi.
“Today, this conclave looks like a gathering of baratis (bridegroom’s party) from all over the country as our journey begins anew to Delhi (the seat of power), which is via Lucknow. Whether I am the bridegroom… I leave that to you to decide,” he said.
Recently, Singh had ruled himself out as a contender for the PM’s chair and had named senior party leaders A.B. Vajpayee and L.K. Advani instead. On Saturday, before he addressed the gathering, Singh touched the feet of both leaders.
He heaped praise on Vajpayee, whom he called the rashtriya purush (national hero), and described Advani as the one who built the party.
Notwithstanding his praise of Vajpayee and Advani, BJP leaders said Singh had charted a role for himself. “By calling Vajpayee his tau and Advani his uncle, Rajnath is only clearing the way for himself,” said a BJP leader who did not want to be named.