CHENNAI: With the new national president of BJP likely to be announced this week, lobbying for the post of the saffron party’s Tamil Nadu unit chief has intensified and the race has narrowed down to state vice-president H Raja and Coimbatore strongman C P Radhakrishnan.
Reliable party sources told Express that the announcement of the new national president to replace incumbent Rajnath Singh had been delayed due to focus on designating officials to ministers and budget.
With Om Mathur opting out of the race, the two leading contenders were Amit Shah and J P Nadda and the final choice would be known by the end of the week, according to a senior leader.
“So, with the new party president in place, the Delhi and Tamil Nadu unit chiefs are expected to be appointed by month-end,” he added.
Hectic lobbying began soon after Tamil Nadu BJP president Pon Radhakrishnan became a central minister, with names of several senior state leaders like L Ganesan, H Raja, C P Radhakrishnan, Mohanrajulu and Vanathi Srinivasan and even VHP secretary Era Meiyappan doing the rounds. The race finally narrowed down to Raja, Radhakrishnan and Mohanrajulu.
However, Mohanrajulu, who is the state organising general secretary and enjoys the backing of Pon Radhakrishnan, was recently informed by a senior central leader that he was out of contention, the sources said. Party rules stipulate that he could occupy an elected post only after a “one-year cooling period” after quitting the present one.
Of the two remaining leaders in the fray, Raja had an edge because of several factors. “He is a well-known Hindutva face in the state and popular with the party cadre,” a saffron activist said.
“He also attends meetings of other saffron organisations like the Hindu Munnani and is in contact with all leaders.”
Besides, Raja was also senior to Radhakrishnan, who had lost touch with both leaders and cadre after his term as the state chief ended, another activist pointed out. Further, Raja’s image as an orator, fluency in Hindi and English and proximity to senior central leaders were expected to work in his favour, he said.