Rajnath Singh addressing the BJP's national executive for the first time after he took over as president struck a high note of resolve and optimism. “Congress dominated the 20th century and BJP will dominate 21st century India,” he told members of the key party forum.
Singh, a second-time president – he held the post the first time from 2007 to 2009 – recalled he was at the helm when the party lost the 2009 Lok Sabha election and at that time he told the national executive that the party should keep its eyes on 2014. He said there is an anti-Congress mood in the country and the conditions are favourable to BJP and that 2014 beckons the party.
Outgoing president Nitin Gadkari thanked party colleagues for their cooperation during his term from 2010 to 2013, while Singh praised Gadkari for taking the party in new directions.
It is clear now despite media speculation that there is no big Modi announcement assigning a leading role to the domineering Gujarat chief minister in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls. Singh in his speech has however complimented Modi for his third consecutive win in Gujarat, a first for a BJP chief minister.
The two-day national council meeting starting Saturday will not be discussing the agenda for states – Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Rajasthan – this year and for the Lok Sabha in 2014. The party event is being seen as the official change of guard. There will however be the political and economic resolutions which will take note of the political and economic situation in the country and the challenge it poses. The economic resolution has been prepared by a team led by Prakash Javdekar and the political resolution by Prasad.
The national executive and national council meetings are being held just to enable Singh to assume office as party president, and coming as it does in the middle of the important Budget session of parliament, the party is not going to take any important decisions or finalise strategies in the election season.