New Delhi, Jan 23: The Thakur from Uttar Pradesh knows the art of ruthlessness and compromise and the compromise helped him to return as the president of the BJP as it prepares for general elections of 2014. Rajnath Singh, 62, takes fresh guard for a three-year term as president with the team BJP divided and down.
Singh had taken on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2005 and had removed him from the party's central parliamentary board. But Singh and Modi, a rising star of the party, have developed a good relationship in the past few months. Rajnath flagged off Modi's Vivekananda Youth Yatra and campaigned during the election.
This is the strength of the new party president, which was missing in outgoing chief Nitin Gadkari. In fact, Modi has already tweeted, "I called up Shri Rajnath Singh ji & congratulated him. He brings with him vast experience of both organisation & administration."
Rajnath Singh has good equations with most of the top leadership and also shares a fine rapport with all parties that are part of the NDA and potential allies and will come handy during the elections. He was party chief when elections were held in the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi, where the Congress and the BJP would be pitted against each other later this year. This could be a morale booster for the party.
Last time around when Rajnath became party chief, he was supported by the RSS, which propped him to break the hold of LK Advani over the BJP. As a Rajput, he has been with the RSS from 1960s and was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly from Mirzapur. However, the irony is that he assumes office for the current term when Gadkari, who was backed by the RSS, had to go under intense pressure.
Even after being the pawn of RSS strategy, Rajnath shares good relations with Advani, at least in public. Rajnath has given due respect to Advani's seniority and stature. But due to bad memories, Advani initially opposed his name but later agreed to let Singh again take over the party presidentship as he was a "consensus" candidate of the BJP and the RSS.
As the UP state BJP president in 1990s, Rajnath Singh mustered numbers for the Kalyan Singh government but soon unseated him to become the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. He has also been cabinet minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
The man, who had broken the jinx of the party and completed the term of office of the president from 2005 to 2009, has immediate task of keeping alive the government in Karnataka and leading the campaign against Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's remarks on Hindu terror.
Rajnath Singh's big challenge will be to take on the recharged Congress, after Rahul Gandhi's elevation as vice-president.
Finally, the man of faith and fate has prevailed. As fate would have it, in the past few months, Singh has taken troubles to win over the trust of his rivals in the BJP. He made peace with Modi and went to Kalyan Singh's residence in Lucknow last month as part of his endeavour to seek his return to the BJP.