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India's main opposition hit by resignation over corruption scandal

Published on Jan 23, 2013 3:17 PM

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's main opposition party is set to elect a new leader today after the scandal-tainted incumbent resigned over a corruption scandal just over a year before national elections.

Mr Nitin Gadkari, president of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2009, stepped down late on Tuesday over a probe into alleged misuse of funds for irrigation work in the western state of Maharashtra.

Mr Gadkari is widely seen as having failed to rejuvenate the BJP, which has been out of power since 2004, and the disorderly transition at the top is a further blow as the party looks ahead to elections in early 2014.

"Senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh will be the next party president," a top party figure said on condition of anonymity, referring to the 61-year-old former party president from 2005 to 2009.

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