Ahmedabad, Oct 25: Purshottam Rupala, a confidant of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, was today elected unanimously as the new state BJP president replacing Vajubhai Vala whose term has expired, party sources said.
Though an official announcement is yet to be made, as per the 11 set of forms received here today from 11 districts until 1400 hrs and following the scrutiny it has been made clear that Mr Rupala has been elected unanimously, sources said.
The election for the post of Gujarat BJP president was overseen by Ram Naik, former Petroleum minister and BJP leader here.
Mr Naik, who has been deputed as the central observer by BJP president Rajnath Singh to oversee the polls, while speaking to mediapersons earlier in the day, gave clear indications that electing the state BJP chief would be based on consensus and indications were that Mr Rupala could be the next state BJP president.
Mr Naik also said the UPA government's handling of various issues was affecting national sentiments. He flayed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and said that during his term in office for nearly two and half years he has been a ''weak'' Prime Minister.
The postponement of Afzal Guru's hanging slated on October 20, 2006, and which was confirmed by the Supreme Court is very unfortunate. The government should have taken a decision much before the date of hanging. ''Failing to do so means insulting the Supreme Court,'' Mr Naik said.
''The Prime Minister has not taken feelings of the common man into consideration,'' he said.
No proper policy framework exists in petroleum matters, Mr Naik lamented. Diesel which was sold at Rs 21.74 per litre in April 2004 now sells at Rs 37.50 a rise of Rs 15.76. Petrol prices too have shot up by Rs 18.35 per litre from Rs 33.71 to Rs 52.06, he added.
Ethanol programme mooted by his NDA government is now virutally over, Mr Naik said. ''India imports 70 per cent of its crude oil and import bill comes to Rs 1,71,702 crore and to reduce the burden on heavy imports we introduced five per cent ethanol blending with petrol on sugarcane producing states. This also helped sugarcane producing farmers. The second phase was to provide five per cent ethanol in remaining states and the third phase was to increase the quantity of ethanol upto 10 per cent. However, Manmohan Singh government suddenly stopped purchases of ethanol under presuure from liquor lobby,'' Mr Naik charged.
In addition to loss to the farmers this has also brought 125 ethanol manufacturing units involving an investment of Rs 500 crore to the brink of bankruptcy, he added.