CHURUMURI POLL: Who after Mahajan in the BJP?

With Pramod Mahajan dead, the BJP now faces a genuine crisis of leadership. Atal Behari Vajpayee will be too old by the time of the next general elections. Lal Krishna Advani has already ruled himself out of it. Every silly “experiment” Narendra Modi embarks upon in Gujarat only makes his acceptance by the saner sections of society across India difficult.

Rajnath Singh is an unknown quantity. Uma Bharati has been sent packing. Sushma Swaraj is too much of a loose cannon in a party that does not quite have women in its scheme of things. Arun Jaitely, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajiv Pratap Rudy et al are good television faces but untested in the rough and tumble of electoral politics. Of Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar, the less said the better.

Questions: who do you think is best placed in the BJP to don Mahajan’s  ‘Lakshman’ mantle? Who has the widest national appeal to take on the combined might of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and fetch votes? Or has the future suddenly become very very bleak for the party in the 25th year of its formation?