Dancing, firecrackers at BJP office over Rajnath as chief

New Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) Thousands of BJP activists and supporters danced to drum beats, burst firecrackers and shouted slogans as Rajnath Singh was elected the new party chief here Wednesday.

The 11, Ashoka Road national office of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was teeming with enthusiastic supporters after news of Rajnath Singh becoming the new party national president filtered out.

"The appointment of our new president is a poll bugle for the 2014 parliamentary election and gives us good hope of our party's victory in the polls," Maan Singh Goswami, 38, a BJP worker from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, Rajnath Singh's base now, told IANS.

The party supporters began gathering outside the office since morning. They began dancing to the beat of drums outside the office and burst firecrackers, which continued till the announcement of the party's new president for the next three years.

As election officer Thawarchand Gehlot announced the name of Rajnath Singh to succeed Nitin Gadkari as the party president, the slogan shouting increased.

Of the thousands gathered, a majority were from Ghaziabad, Delhi's suburban town in Uttar Pradesh.

"Rajnath Singh is a leader of great experience in politics. I wish he finds a way to make the BJP win the 2014 parliamentary elections," said Asha Singh, a party supporter in her early 30s who came from Ghaziabad.

Around 9.45 a.m. as Rajnath Singh, accompanied by former president Nitin Gadkari arrived in a white sedan at the party office, the supporters burst firecrackers.

A long line of cars was seen outside the party office, forcing police to shut Ashoka Road after the announcement of Rajnath Singh's name as party chief.

"It is the party decision which should be acceptable to all party workers. I am happy," Pankaj Singh, BJP general secretary and elder son of Rajnath Singh, told IANS after the announcement.

"The name of Rajnath Singh has been proposed on the basis of his contribution to the party in the past years. He is among those BJP leaders who has served for the benefit of every section of the society," said Kirti Azad, MP from Darbhagha in Bihar.

Rajnath Singh was Uttar Pradesh's chief minister from 2000-2002 and succeeded L.K. Advani as the BJP president in 2005. He also served in Atal Behari Bajpyee's government as surface transport and agriculture minister.

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