A timetable for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s organisational polls leading to the election of a new party president by late December-early January has been finalised, signalling the start of the process for a change of leadership.
The twin-package worked out with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leadership involves the election of a new party president at the end of the tenure of current incumbent Rajnath Singh by early January and the resignation of L.K. Advani as leader of the Opposition.
While the start of the electoral process for a new president has been announced, there is no word yet on when Mr. Advani will make way for a younger leader.
The buzz in the party is that while it could be as early as before the start of the winter session, it would not be later than when a new party president takes charge.
The returning officer for the BJP organisational polls and general secretary Thawarchand Gehlot sent a circular indicating the timetable from the mandal/block level to the district and State level party units. In each State, a returning officer for the polls has also been finalised and the unit concerned informed.
The ongoing membership drive in the party is expected to come to an end around Deepavali, after which the process of organisational polls will begin at the mandal and block levels.
The constitution of local level committees will take place by the end of October. For the next 15 days, up to November 15, the mandal level polls will be completed, and the process at the district level be finished by November end.
From December 1 to 15, the BJP is expected to complete the State-level polls. After that, at any time, a date could be set for the national presidential poll.
The party constitution stipulates that the presidential polls can be conducted, provided that at least 50 per cent of the States have completed their organisational elections.
This time, Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh have been kept out of organisational polls because of Assembly elections. They will take up this task after polling is over.
Mr. Gehlot has also set up a three-member committee with Shanta Kumar, Jayawantiben Mehta and Ramnath Kovind to deal with any election-related complaints.