Hindu Nationalist Hon. Rajnath Singh now Cabinet Minister in Modi’s govt.

rajnath-singh-gag-order-295May 26, 2014:

The 62-year-old former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Rajnath Singh, is among the most astute politicians in the BJP’s higher echelons. A rank outsider to the Delhi circles, Rajnath Singh surprised many when he was picked by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to succeed LK Advani as BJP president in the aftermath of the Jinnah controversy.

During a visit to Pakistan, Advani described Mohammed Ali Jinnah as a “secular” leader pushing an already frustrated RSS to the tipping point. Advani was asked to resign from the BJP president’s chair, a post he relinquished with much reluctance in end-December-January to make way for Rajnath Singh.

Singh had endeared himself to the RSS by his quiet and low-profile management of various tasks, including the extremely complex process of government formation in Jharkhand around that time. So, while Advani wanted his loyalist M. Venkaiah Naidu to replace him, the RSS pushed for Singh.

The new president faced a tough time handling the squabbling bunch of leaders in the BJP. Stories in the media describing him as “intellectually deficient” appeared and Singh blamed certain Delhi-based leaders for creating hurdles in his functioning. But what Singh may lack in talent, he more than made up with his ability to manoeuvre situations to his advantage.

The RSS replaced him with Nitin Gadkari after his term expired and effected an amendment in the BJP constitution that was expected to allow Gadkari yet another term in office. Before the party constitution was amended, two successive terms were not permitted for the BJP president.

However, a series of scandals and scams started appearing in the media when Gadkari’s term was coming to an end in January, 2013 and the RSS was pushed to replace Gadkari. Although Advani’s choice for the post was Sushma Swaraj, the RSS pushed Singh again to the fore.

Singh took the lead in appointing Narendra Modi first as election campaign in-charge, in the face of open rebellion by Advani last year and then as BJP’s PM candidate.

Now that the BJP has won a stupendous majority, Singh would have liked to continue as party president and hope to stay more relevant than his contemporaries in future politics, but he has been persuaded to join the Cabinet. He is, at best, a reluctant entry in the Council of Ministers.

Source: The Hindu BusinessLine