By Tanmaya Raj:
Mr. Rajnath Singh, the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, replaced Nitin Gadkari as the president of BJP on 23rd January, 2013. This led to a series of events that raised a lot of questions in the minds of many people. The main reason for this was the last minute change in the contender for the post of the president of the party. Gadkari had received full support from the RSS and even the rival parties had agreed upon his re-election as the president. However, the fresh round of income tax inquiries about alleged financial irregularities in the Purti Group, with which Gadkari has been associated, turned the tables upside down. This gave Yashwant Sinha a chance to put forward his word. Thus, the taxmen often criticized by BJP for supporting Congress prevented the party from the crisis of credibility it would have faced if a scam-stained Gadkari would have continued as the president.
It was compensated by electing Rajnath Singh as the president of BJP. Rajnath Singh is an experienced leader; however, is he capable enough to withstand and survive the set of problems that are likely to strike in the near future? The main setback by Gadkari’s resignation was suffered by the RSS and its head Mohan Bhagwat, who had staked his reputation to ensure Gadkari’s re-election. Will Rajnath be able to satisfy the not-so-happy RSS? Moreover, Rajnath has to make significant efforts to reduce factionalism that took place during his previous tenure. Another matter of concern can be Rajnath’s unpleasant and unsettling relations with Narendra Modi, who was dissatisfied with Gadkari’s near-dismissal as the president. Though Rajnath Singh was unanimously elected as the President, yet the RSS leadership at Nagpur refused to give him a dominant role in the party and welcomed Gadkari with slogans in his favour. All these indicate that though BJP’s short termed set of problems may have been tackled, a vast mountain of troubles awaits the new president.
It is an undisputed fact that Rajnath has to shoulder some major responsibilities as the president of BJP. However, with all odds against him, he has to work with great care and responsibility. In addition, BJP, though the leading opposition party has a past of being associated with all sorts of problems and scams. As its president, will Rajnath be able to create a cleaner slate to ensure victory for BJP in the next elections? This is one question that only time can answer. It is clear that Rajnath certainly has some big shoes to fill, considering the fact that he is the president of a party like the BJP.