With the BJP set to witness significant organisational changes and amid indications of an “expansion” of the Council of Ministers, party president and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at the Jhandewalan office here.
Bhagwat left the Capital for Punjab later in the day and Sangh leaders sought to suggest that Singh did not meet him and held consultations only with the outfit’s joint general secretary Suresh Soni. “Rajnath Singhji met Suresh Soniji of RSS, not Bhagwatji,” RSS leader Ram Madhav said in a post on Twitter adding, “It was about some organisational matters only.”
After the visit to the RSS office, Singh also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Later, senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi met the Prime Minister as well, fuelling speculation about the veteran bagging some assignment with the government.
Ahead of Singh, senior party leader Om Mathur, who is in-charge of Gujarat, had also met RSS leaders. BJP sources say he along with general secretaries Amit Shah and J P Nadda is in the race for the top party post.
“The national party president must be appointed with consent of the Prime Minister. It is like in party-ruled states, where the consent of chief minister is conventionally required for the state unit chief,” a source said.This, however, may appear to suggest that Shah is the frontrunner for the top job in the party but leaders also reminded that Mathur too has been quite close to Modi after being appointed the Gujarat in-charge last year.
Nadda, meanwhile, remains in the good books of the Sangh Parivar and all eyes are now on Modi to make the final choice. “Though these three are main contenders, one cannot rule out the possibility of a fourth person to break logjam, if any, among top leadership of the party and the RSS,” said another party source.
Apart from the impending changes in the party, the meeting also holds significance in the wake of the rumblings from some state units and alliance partners over inadequate representation. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has already hinted at the “expansion” of the Council of Ministers.
Army Chief meets Prime Minister
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Army Chief General Bikram Singh on his second day in office for what was described as a courtesy call but during which the security situation was also touched upon. Singh met the PM for about 15 minutes and will conduct a detailed briefing on national security at a later date. A detailed presentation has already been prepared on matters that require urgent attention. Also on Wednesday, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley was briefed by top officials of the defence ministry, including Gen Singh and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on various service related matters.