Rajnath Singh was on Wednesday unanimously elected the new president of Bharatiya Janata Party, succeeding Nitin Gadkari who decided against a second term till he was cleared of alleged corruption charges.
A resolution supporting Rajnath Singh as party chief was unanimously adopted by the parliamentary board of the party, after which he filed his nomination papers.
The returning officer announced that 17 other nominations were also filed in Rajnath Singh's favour.
In a day of dramatic developments capped by Gadkari's announcement, Rajnath Singh emerged as the frontrunner in the BJP presidential poll battle.
Today is the last day of filing nominations for the BJP polls and Rajnath Singh is likely to be nominated for the post this evening itself
Gadkari had till Tuesday afternoon appeared certain to be re-nominated, but resigned from his post in the evening and ruled out seeking a second term in office
Gadkari, who was billed for re-election as party chief, has been in the eye of a storm after the income tax department raided the offices of his Purti group of companies for financial irregularities and its fictitious investors firms
Gadkari said that he did not want questions on his integrity to undermine the sanctity of the BJP's top post
"I want to wait until the enquiry is complete. I decided that until I am proved innocent, I will not seek a second term. The party must look for a new leader, and I will support and cooperate with whoever is chosen by the party. I am convinced that I am not directly or indirectly involved in any act of corruption. When the enquiry is complete, I shall emerge with my image untarnished," he said in Mumbai
The BJP has alleged that ruling Congress Party misused the income tax department to target opponents as it had done with the federal police, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
Gadkari also brushed aside any speculations of friction within the party, saying that he had the support of senior leaders as well as the party rank and file.