Narendra Modi as PM candidate
BJP inching closer to naming Narendra Modi as PM candidate
NEW DELHI: The BJP on Thursday appeared to be inching closer towards an announcement of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate even as efforts continued by party chief Rajnath Singh to bring on board leaders who want the decision to be deferred till the assembly polls.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sources said that the decision on Modi’s elevation would be announced “soon” and could happen on Friday.
Rajnath Singh said that all senior leaders were being consulted on the issue and sought to downplay reservations of senior party leader LK Advani on declaring Modi as prime ministerial candidate.
“No one is miffed with anyone. ..We will decide after talking to everyone and will make the announcement at the appropriate time,” Rajnath Singh told reporters here.
Earlier, former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi made a veiled criticism of Advani.
“Advaniji has failed to gauge the public mood. Advaniji himself declared Atalji as PM candidate. Now also he could have done the same for Namo (Narendra Modi),” Sushil Modi tweeted on Wednesday night.
Party sources said that apart from Advani, Sushma Swaraj, the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, also wants the decision on projecting Modi to be deferred till assembly polls to five sates later this year.
Narendra Modi is the chief of party’s campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
GVL Narasimha Rao, a member of BJP’s national executive, said the party leadership was trying to reach a consensus and admitted there were leaders who did not favour Modi.
However, he indicated that the party was willing to make the announcement despite the reservations of these leaders.
“Hope there is consensus in parliamentary board. If not, the majority decision will prevail,” Narasimha Rao said.
Party sources said Rajnath Singh met Sushma Swaraj in a bid to pave the way for the announcement.
He had earlier met Advani and party leader Murli Manohar Joshi.
BJP has maintained that a decision on prime ministerial candidate would be taken by the parliamentary board.
Party sources said a meeting of the parliamentary board may be convened on Friday. They said Rajnath Singh may also decide to make an announcement on Narendra Modi after consulting members of the board individually.
“What the party would be doing tomorrow is only formalising a decision taken,” a party leader said.
Those pushing for Narendra Modi’s elevation as prime ministerial candidate feel that it will help build momentum against the Congress and help crystallise people’s mood in favour of the party.
But Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was close to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee besides Advani, on Thursday accused Narendra Modi of polarising his own party and questioned his ability to head a stable central government.
“A socially polarising leader has polarised his own party. Can he run a smooth, stable and effective government at the centre? Think seriously,” he tweeted.