The BJP would decide its strategy for the Presidential election, scheduled in July, after assessing its strength in the five State assemblies, where the election process would be completed next week.
In the last Presidential election, the BJP backed the former Vice-President and erstwhile veteran party leader, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, against the Congress supported and present President, Pratibha Patil.
Since the last election, the strength of the BJP in Parliament and Assemblies, which form part of the electoral college for election of President, has gone down. The chances of the BJP improving its tally substantially are minimal.
At an interaction at the Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC) here, BJP president Nitin Gadkari was cautious on the prospects of his party in the just concluded Assembly elections.
He avoided jumping to any conclusions and merely said: “Let us wait for the results.”
On Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP's stakes are high, Mr. Gadkari conceded that as the party fared poorly in the last Assembly elections, there were several desertions.
Mr. Gadkari maintained that in the current election, his party leaders have worked very hard. He particularly complimented the role played by Sanjay Joshi, bête noire of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in the U.P. election.
Mr. Modi stayed away from campaigning triggering speculation that he was not happy with the decision of bringing Mr. Joshi back into the party fold and entrusting him with the election campaign in U.P.
The BJP president was very cryptic in his response to a number of questions on the absence of Mr. Modi. Asked if the BJP fared well in U.P., did it mean the party did not need Mr. Modi outside Gujarat, Mr. Gadkari said the Gujarat Chief Minister was busy with his ‘Sadbhavna Yatra.'
Asked about the likely impact of the Assembly election results on the UPA government, the BJP chief maintained that the Opposition was not trying to destabilise the Centre and that the Manmohan Singh government was facing problems from its allies.
On whether he would get a second term as party president, Mr. Gadkari maintained that he was not lobbying for a second term and said that he would do whatever the party wanted. “I may have made bona fide mistakes, not malafide,” he remarked.
On whether Govindacharya would return to the party, after Uma Bharati has come back, Mr. Gadkari said that he took advice from him and had even asked him many times to return to the fold. Mr. Govindacharya, according to him, preferred to work from outside.