New Delhi: Rajnath Singh, who took over as the BJP president on Wednesday, will have to face some major challenges in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

READ MORE: BJP’s presidential journey since 1980

Prior to Singh’s appointment as BJP chief, there was an apparent bickering within the party over the issue of electing new president and voices were being raised against the then party president Nitin Gadkar’s election for the second consecutive term. Rajnath Singh’s name surfaced for the top party post in the last moment.

Rajnath Singh, a physics lecturer-turned-politician, is the only candidate in BJP after veteran leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani who has been appointed as the party chief for the second term.

Notably, addressing a gathering at BJP headquarters in Delhi on Wednesday, Singh, a Lok Sabha MP from Ghaziabad, had said that he accepted the post as a responsibility and was not just looking at it as a takeover.

Here is a list of seven challenges which the new BJP chief Rajnath Singh will have to confront:

Karnataka crisis

The first and biggest challenge before Rajnath Singh will be to handle the crisis in Karnataka, where assembly elections are due later this year. The party is going through a remake after its strongman and former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa was forced to quit the post in 2010 following his indictment by the state Lokayukta in a mining scam. Since then, the state saw two new Chief Ministers – DV Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar. Now the state government has landed in crisis after the resignation 13 BJP MLAs, loyalist to the former CM Yeddyurappa. Karnataka has been the only south Indian state where the ruling party has a strong mass base and attributes for this goes to former BJP strongman Yeddyurappa who split with the party in December last year and launched a regional party.

Checking corruption

The new BJP president has got a responsibility to shine the image of the party which was tarnished after the charges of corruption against former party president Nitin Gadkari. Names of some of the party leaders had also figured in coalblocks allocation scam. While going through the text of LK Advani’s Wednesday speech, he had termed the BJP – a party with difference. The octogenarian party patriarch had also asked the new BJP president to cleanse the party.

State assembly polls

Assembly elections in nine states are due this year. These assembly polls will be the semi finals ahead of the 2014 general elections.

Party’s performance in Uttar Pradesh

The party is facing factionalism in Uttar Pradesh, the state which elects maximum number of MPs to Lok Sabha. Advani in his speech had stressed on the reviving the party’s performance in the state.

Mission Lok Sabha 2014

Singh, who served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 2000 to 2002, will have to lead the party in 2014 general elections. This will be the biggest challenge for him. Another tough job for him will be to evolve a consensus for NDA’s prime ministerial candidate.

Coordination between BJP-RSS-Advani

During Rajnath Singh’s first tenure as the BJP chief, his terms with Advani faction were seemingly not so smooth. But this time, the situation is quite different. The situation that forced Gadkari to step down has definitely hurt the RSS as it helplessly watched the ouster of its protégé amid internal political clash. Now, Rajnath has a challenging job to curb factionalism within the party and maintain a smooth relationship with RSS, BJP’s ideological guardian.

Searching allies for NDA

Amid the tensions between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose party is a key ally of NDA, and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, about whom it is presumed that he could be nominated as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, searching new allies for the NDA will be a tough task for Rajnath Singh to return to power in 2014.

It is important to note that after the split of Biju Janata Dal and Trinamool Congress, the two major constituents of NDA government from 1998 to 2004, the BJP’s prospects in 2009 general elections were doomed.


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