With party president Rajnath Singh completing his term by the year-end, the outline of BJP leadership has been finalized, said reports.
According to plan agreed upon, Sushma Swaraj will replace L K Advani as Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha as and when he steps down, while Arun Jaitley will stay on as Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said reports, adding that it was Advani who wanted Swaraj as his successor, and he conveyed this to the RSS.
Reports said that in deliberations between Advani and Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, it was decided that no serving chief minister would be disturbed. Earlier, there were speculations of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi replacing Rajnath Singh.
“The formula that emerged from the consultations was that the BJP parliamentary party office-bearers and serving CMs must not be disturbed,” reports said quoting unnamed BJP leader said. “While the names of Sushma, Jaitley were thus ruled out, M Venkaiah Naidu, who had served as party president in the past, was not considered. The idea then was to look for a name from outside Delhi.”
Manohar Parrikar, the leader was quoted as saying, was considered a contender at one point but his “rancid pickle” remark reportedly did him in. He had compared Advani’s long innings in politics with pickle that turns rancid, but later he clarified that this was not what he said in the interview.
“While he’s considered an excellent CM, his experience in organisational affairs has not been great,” the BJP leader said. The choice then veered towards Maharashtra BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, considered close to Bhagwat. The BJP leader, however, said “Gadkari’s name was not proposed by the RSS”.