The Friday announcement brought hundreds of Narendra Modi supporters to the streets — dancing to drumbeat, bursting crackers and distributing sweets — in Ahmedabad.
The din was at its shrillest in Modi’s backyard soon after BJP president Rajnath Singh made the announcement in Delhi. And hopes soared for a 2014 victory. “Under Narendrabhai’s leadership, the BJP will surely win parliamentary polls and form the government at the Centre,” said Gujarat BJP president RC Faldu.
Another party leader Vijay Rupani said the move will enthuse party cadres across the country. The announcement sounded a death knell for the Congress, said BJP Rajya Sabha member Purushottam Rupala.
Congress leaders, however, slammed Modi at a huge farmers’ rally held at Rajkot in Saurashtra. “We will expose his lies and tall claims. Modi is not somebody who can talk about inclusive development and growth,” Gujarat Congress president Arjuna Modhwadia told farmers.
Leader of the opposition in the state assembly Shankersinh Vaghela also slammed Modi and the BJP for elevating Modi, who, according to him, is a liability.
“I can understand the pain of (BJP patriarch) LK Advani today. The RSS has imposed Modi on the BJP. The party will pay heavily for this misadventure,” Vaghela, himself a former RSS and BJP leader, said.