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Rajnath Singh to be new BJP chief

Agencies

Posted: Dec 24, 2005 at 1038 hrs IST

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP General Secretary Rajnath Singh will be succeeding L K Advani as party chief. The new president will hold the office till March-April 2007.

Advani will resign from the post next week after the party’s silver jubilee convention in Mumbai next week

Singh was the consensus choice of the BJP and the RSS at a meeting of the top leaders like Atal Behari Vajpayee, Advani, Jaswant Singh and Venkaiah Naidu, and RSS's Mohan Bhagwat and Suresh Soni.

With Venkaiah Naidu opting out of the race, the focus shifted to Singh, as he was seen as "the next generation leader", who would bring the much-needed drive to the party.

Advani will make the official announcement only after the BJP's silver jubilee concludes in Mumbai.

Singh returned to Delhi after completing his yatra in eastern UP, when the central leaders spoke to him about the party's decision. Singh's advantage is his image as an able administrator. As BJP general secretary, he was credited for the BJP's success in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

BJP deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj are said to be the other contenders for the top post.

While Naidu had met the senior Sangh leaders on Thursday, party general secretary Arun Jaitley met them on Friday. Party general secretary (organisation) and Sangh pointsman in BJP Sanjay Joshi has been communicating between the two sides.

With southern India, including Naidu’s own Andhra Pradesh yielding little dividends for the party despite having three successive presidents-K Jana Krishnamurthy, Bangaru Laxman and Naidu-both the Sangh and BJP were of the opinion that the party would have to revitalise itself in the north, specially Uttar Pradesh, to revive itself. And none suited the bill more than Rajnath Singh, Parivar sources said.

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