Rajnath Singh, not Nitin Gadkari to be BJP President as script changes at last moment

FP

A formal decision, however, will be taken Wednesday morning at the meeting of the parliamentary board, after which Singh will file his nomination papers. The results are likely to be announced by early afternoon.

Earlier in the day though, the entire script appeared to be in favour of Gadkari with his confidantes preparing to file his nomination papers. The first indication that Gadkari's fortunes were changing came when the BJP "corrected" a statement it issued on the income-tax action, dropping a reference to Gadkari's "re-election".

The original statement, released by the BJP on Gadkari's behalf, read: "Coming as it does on the eve of his re-election as BJP president for a second term, the I-T department's action smacks of the ruling UPA's nefarious designs to create confusion in BJP ranks." This was changed to, "Coming as it does on the eve of election of BJP president...."

While Gadkari's supporters still remained unfazed, the final twist came when the chief electoral officer for the party elections, Thawarchand Gehlot, went public and announced that senior party leader Yashwant Sinha, who had demanded Gadkari's resignation weeks earlier, had taken nomination papers for the election. This was another indication of the unease in sections of the party over Gadkari's decision to contest the elections.

It was only after this that the party's senior leaders went into a huddle and decided to push Singh's name. Singh, who will preside over the party during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, told reporters that he saw the responsibility as a great challenge and he would try his best.

TWIST IN THE TALE

3 PM: Shahnawaz Hussain defends Gadkari; Prakash Javadekar did the same after I-T inquiries against investing firms in Gadkari's Purti Group in the morning

4 PM: Gadkari slams govt's "politically motivated" action against his "re-election"

... contd.

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