BJP to elect party chief Jan 23, Gadkari likely to stay on

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday issued a notification for the party president's elections amid likelihood of incumbent Nitin Gadkari getting another term as no other contender has emerged for the post.

The notification, issued by party general secretary Thawarchand Gehlot, said that the filing of nominations will take place Jan 23 in the party office between 10 a.m. and 11.30 a.m.

It said that the result will be declared the same day if the election is unanimous, and if there was a contest, the date of polling will be announced Jan 23.

Party sources said Gadkari was likely to get a second term in office as no other contender has emerged in the party so far.

They said consultations had already been held between Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionaries, and BJP leaders on the choice of president. Senior party leader L.K. Advani had also been consulted.

The sources said name of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj had figured in the discussion, but she was keen on continuing in her current post.

The RSS, the ideological mentor of the BJP, favours Gadkari's continuation in the post, the sources said.

Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi did not reply to questions over discussions in the party to give Gadkari a second term.

Asked if Advani had proposed Sushma Swaraj's name for the post, he said nominations for the contest will be declared at a proper time.

There have been demands in the party against giving Gadkari a second term in the wake of allegations relating to financial wrongdoing in Purti Group linked to him.

While a section of the party feels that the party's efforts to pin the Congress on anti-corruption plank could be affected due to the controversy, there is also a view that the allegations against Gadkari were not serious and there was nothing against him personally.

The party has already given a clean chit to Gadkari on the alleged wrongdoings in investments in Purti Group, based on the probe done by S. Gurumurhty, a financial analyst considered close to the RSS.

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