Profile: Rajnath Singh returns to familiar political terrain

Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh, who was elected President of BJP today, finds himself in the familiar role of leading the party at a time when the party is dogged by factional feud and the Lok Sabha polls not too far away.

61-year-old Singh from Uttar Pradesh, who takes over from Nitin Gadkari, returns to the political terrain in which the low-profile, soft-spoken and articulate leader found himself about six years ago when he was chosen by the saffron party to head it. General elections is due in May 2014.

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Singh's dramatic elevation to the top party post caps a period of big political churnings within BJP divided on re-electing Gadkari as president for a second time.

It was Singh who had handed over the baton to Gadkari in December 2009. But in a sudden and dramatic last-minute twist, Gadkari, facing allegations of dubious funding of his company, was last night forced out of the race for BJP President's post for a second term and Rajnath emerged the consensus choice.

The party probably had little choice except to fall back on Singh's non-controversial image and a high degree of acceptability among rival groups in the organization.

Singh has again been brought back by the party as chief just three days after the Congress elevated AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi as Vice President.

How Singh will reshape the BJP to counter Congress' charm offensive remains to be seen though he has often lauded BJP's democratic strength which has enabled a "commoner" like him to lead the party

From a college lecturer in Physics, Rajnath Singh's rise in politics has been gradual and steady during which he had been BJP chief from 2006 to 2009 and earned the reputation of being an able administrator as Union Minister twice and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

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