Power games | New BJP President: Rajnath, Shivraj RSS picks; Tawde, Bansal PM’s

The Sangh Parivar fountainhead wants one of these two ministers to resign from the government and take over as the party president.
Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Shivraj Singh Chauhan
Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Shivraj Singh Chauhan

The race for heading the world’s largest party is heating up. The term of J P Nadda, who is currently heading the BJP, is ending on June 30. The party leadership has been in touch with the RSS to find a candidate acceptable to all. According to sources, the RSS leadership has indicated its preference for Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Shivraj Singh Chauhan. The Sangh Parivar fountainhead wants one of these two ministers to resign from the government and take over as the party president.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, however, are not keen to let go of the ministers. They want to elevate one of the effective party functionaries to the top job. Among their favourites are national general secretaries Vinod Tawde and Sunil Bansal. Both these leaders have risen through the ranks and have proved their worth in the organization. The appointment of one of them as party chief was expected to go through smoothly.

But the RSS has reportedly stepped up pressure on the BJP leadership to accommodate its opinion in this critical organisational appointment. Sources, however, said that the Prime Minister is not keen to cede control of the party and is likely to soon appoint either Tawde or Bansal as executive president. There is also a chance of the party giving Nadda a short extension in order to avoid confrontation with the RSS.

Poll Preparations

BJP eyes another prominent Haryana family

After inducting into the party the descendants of two of the three famous Lals of Haryana – Bhajan Lal and Bansi Lal – and allying with the third – Devi Lal, the BJP is now eyeing another prominent family of Haryana.

According to sources, the party is keen to bring into its fold Kuldip Sharma, son of four time MP and one of the most respected Brahmin leaders of Haryana Pandit Chiranji Lal Sharma. Kuldeep Sharma is a member of the Congress and is a former Speaker of the Haryana Assembly. With the Congress wresting five out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats from the BJP in the recent elections, the ruling party is pulling out all stops to retain power in the state where assembly elections are due in October this year.

Inducting Kuldip Sharma is part of this plan. But the Congress has reached out to Sharma to persuade him against giving in to the BJP’s overtures. Party leader and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda publicly requested Sharma not to leave the party. “Panditji Bhajna mat. Hamein teri vidhan sabha mein jaroorat hai,” he announced from a stage where Sharma was seated.

Though Sharma made some conciliatory noises, sources said he continues to be in touch with the BJP. Last week, Congress leader Kiran Choudhry, daughter-in-law of former chief minister Bansi Lal, had joined the BJP. Former Congress chief minister Bhajan Lal’s son Kuldeep Bishnoi had joined the party last year. Another former Haryana chief minister Rao Birendra Singh’s son, Rao Inderjit Singh, is a minister in the Modi government. The party is working on further expansion in the state.

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