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Cloud over Gadkari's second term as BJP president

Last updated on: May 25, 2012 18:07 IST

Cloud over Gadkari's second term as BJP president

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Prasanna D Zore

Senior BJP leaders said that the amendment of Article 21 of its constitution to enable an incumbent president a second term in office was not done keeping Nitin Gadkari in mind. Prasanna D Zore reports

The Bharatiya Janata Party's national executive may have amended Article 21 of its constitution to enable an incumbent president a second term in office, but BJP leaders told rediff.com that they were not categorical or vocal that the current national president Nitin Gadkari will get the position when it comes up for grabs this December.

After much speculation about there being opposition from within the BJP's top echelons to amending Article 21 -- that stipulated an incumbent president cannot run for a second term -- the members of the national executive amended it unanimously on Thursday evening amid much drama the whole day.

Though Gadkari may have heaved a sigh of relief it may prove to be short lived.

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Image: BJP President Nitin Gadkari, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley have a chat at Mumbai
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com

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Cloud over Gadkari's second term as BJP president

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Gopinath Munde, BJP's deputy leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, who had raised a banner of revolt against Gadkari for sidelining him in Maharashtra had told rediff.com on Thursday that the amendment will be passed unanimously just an hour before the event.

"Amendment of Article 21 only enables an incumbent to become president for another term," he had said. "This amendment is not being passed keeping Gadkari in mind," he had added.

However, at a press meet on Friday afternoon Munde suggested that passing an amendment does not automatically mean an extension. When asked if he was suggesting that there could be opposition to Gadkari's re-election as national president of the BJP, he cryptically reiterated that the "amendment was passed not with an individual in mind".

When asked to clarify whether that means Gadkari will face opposition, Munde said, "Gadkari will become the president again."


Image: Gadkari releases a book at the meet
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com

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Cloud over Gadkari's second term as BJP president

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It is in this backdrop that party spokesperson and general secretary Ravi Shankar Prasad and Nirmala Sitaraman announced a programme for intra-party elections that will begin on June 23 and culminate with the election to the post of party president in December.

When rediff.com asked Sitaraman if enabling a provision in Article 21 would ensure a cakewalk for Gadkari she refused to categorically answer the question. She instead offered the party line that the amendment was not personality-centric.

Ever since the amendment issue to enable Gadkari get another shot at presidentship hit the headlines the BJP has stoically maintained this position.

This lack of enthusiasm on the part of the BJP leaders to come out openly in support of Gadkari's candidature is a clear indication that the latter will have to pass many a sleepless nights before he gets anointed as BJP's national president for a second term.


Image: Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde said that the amendment of not personality-centric


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