Rajnath Singh hands over BJP baton to Gadkari

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New Delhi, Dec 19 (ANI) : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh resigned from his post here on Saturday paving way for Nitin Gadkari from Maharashtra to take over the reins of the party.

Singh whose four-year term ended on Saturday placed his papers before the BJP parliamentary board which met here this afternoon.

Fifity two-year-old Gadkari was till date heading BJP's Maharashtra Unit, prior to his promotion in rank in the party.

Hailing from Nagpur Gadkari, a follower of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), held the Revenue portfolio during Shiv Sena -BJP rule in Maharashtra.

Though Gadkari's appointment seems to be made on the directions of the RSS, but according to party sources Advani himself favoured Gadkari's name.

Addressing the media after the parliamentary board meeting outgoing president Rajnath Singh said he handled the position as a challenge.

"After my appointment as the BJP president in December 2005, till date I handled this position with a challenge and with blessings and guidance of Advaniji and Atalji," Singh said.

"The tenure was filled with both happiness and some bad moments, out of 29 state elections we faced in last four years we achieved according to our wishes in some states, but in others we did not do well," he added.

Singh also said the party suffered a lot after the untimely death of Pramod Mahajan and the affect increased after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's bad health condition.

Formally announcing Gadkari's name for the party's top job, Singh described him as " Good, able and creative party worker."

Speaking after receiving the baton from Singh, Gadkari said, he will formally ascend the post on December 24.

"I request all the party leaders, and office bearers to extend their guidance and co-operation in running the party, and I also seek the blessing and guidance from Advaniji," Gadkari said.

"Today I am happy to occupy the position which was with Advaniji and VajpayeejI," he added.

Speaking on the occasion L K Advani said the NDA Government took the page of massive construction of road network from Gadkari, who achieved it as Maharashtra's Revenue Minister.

Gadkari was the man behind the construction of Pune- Mumbai eight lane express high way. (ANI)

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