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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Love or hate, Modi's BJP flavour

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 04, 2013
First Published: 01:53 IST(4/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:54 IST(4/3/2013)

An outsider to the Delhi power scene until a few months ago, Narendra Modi has announced his arrival on the BJP's scene with a bang. His rivals within the BJP and outside will have to reckon with him whether they love or hate him.

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That seemed to be the central message as the party's mega conclave wrapped up with a message to hundreds of party cadres who were looking up to Modi.

If they were desperate for a direction, Modi gave to them in a style that they wanted to hear. So, a thunderous attack on the Congress leadership and an affirmative I-can-do-it- talk were in his order, BJP insiders said.

If Modi sounded acerbic, he intended to show that, among BJP front-rankers, he alone held the power to inflict and provoke the main political opponent to pick up the gauntlet and not any of the "Delhi-based" leaders who were often cosy with the establishment.

At the same time, as BJP leaders noticed, Modi showed he would not be disarmed by the talk of expected delays in a formal decision by the BJP on PM candidate. Modi made it a point to underscore that "the candidate has never mattered in the BJP - we must go forward with our party programmes."

If Modi deliberately chose not to voice his thoughts on pitfalls concerning the BJP, LK Advani and, his favourite choice for PM's post, Sushma Swaraj, provided the reality jerkers. In a out of sync mood, Advani harped on corruption in Karnataka, Swaraj talked about a prevailing trend within BJP of politically eliminating rivals - a charge that some leaders have leveled against her too.

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