H Raja Leads the Race for Tamil Nadu BJP Presidentship Post
CHENNAI: Even as a strong BJP contingent from Tamil Nadu is camping in the national capital, hopeful of making it to the swearing in ceremony of Narendra Modi, speculation is rife about the new State unit chief, what with the incumbent and the party’s lone MP from the State Pon Radhakrishnan almost sure to get a ministerial berth.
Sources told Express that several senior leaders of the State unit, including Radhakrishnan, L Ganesan and C P Radhakrishnan, had arrived in New Delhi to attend the function. While Pon Radhakrishnan was staying at the Old Tamil Nadu Guesthouse, others were at the new building in Chanakyapuri. According to a senior functionary, 40 rooms booked at the old guesthouse for the newly elected MPs from the State are yet to be occupied.
Meanwhile, sources said, two questions appear to be exercising the minds of the partymen: who will make it to the ministry from the State and who will be the next State chief. A senior BJP leader claimed that while Pon Radhakrishnan was sure to be made an MoS, PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss, who was the other NDA MP to be elected from the State, would have to wait till he got clearance by the CBI in a graft case. “’Pon R’ is in, Anbumani not in. Modi does not want his ministers to be tainted,” he said categorically.
Since the State unit chief post will fall vacant in the event of Radhakrishnan’s induction, hectic lobbying has begun for the coveted post, with H Raja emerging as the leading contender. Other names like State organising secretary Mohanrajulu, State secretary Vanathi Srinivasan and State VHP (northern region) president Era Meiyappan are doing the rounds. Sources claimed that with L Ganesan eyeing a Rajya Sabha seat, Raja has emerged as the top contender and “natural choice” for the post being the senior-most leader in the party. On Mohanrajulu, they contended that as per party rules he could occupy an elected post only after a “one-year cooling period” after quitting his present post.
While waiting for Sunday’s function, many leaders have also been meeting national president Rajnath Singh and others like Ananth Kumar. But requests for an appointment with Modi have proved to be elusive. Ganesan, for instance, had sought a meeting on May 20, but returned to Chennai the same day unable to meet the prime minister-designate. Actor-politician S Ve Shekher, who is the State propaganda secretary, awaits a response to his letter. There also appears to be a scramble for passes to attend the swearing-in. While State president, organising secretary and members of the national executive council automatically qualify for them, others are hopefully awaiting the invitation sent via email from Rashtrapati Bhavan. They are scheduled to participate in the felicitation function for BJP national spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi, who was elected from Delhi, organised by the party’s Delhi unit on Saturday.