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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Modi as BJP’s PM candidate is only a matter of time

Shekhar Iyer , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 21, 2013
First Published: 23:32 IST(21/7/2013) | Last Updated: 20:10 IST(22/7/2013)

Narendra Modi’s declaration as BJP’s prime ministerial  candidate may only be a matter of time, feel BJP insiders pointing to his emergence as the first among equals in the party.

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A formal declaration could come before the announcement of the assembly elections in five states to be held in November or earlier, depending on the Congress’ strategy.

Modi’s anointment for the top slot, which many BJP leaders consider only a formality, could be timed with the Congress’ claim of victory once the much touted food security bill is passed in Parliament for mileage before the assembly elections in Delhi, MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

But, before BJP chief Rajnath Singh makes that announcement, he and those backing Modi will have to persuade LK Advani, who is bound to oppose the move, say key BJP leaders.

Advani, who has reluctantly agreed to Modi being made the head of the BJP campaign committee for the Lok Sabha polls, would prefer that the issue is settled after the elections. Any announcement prior to the elections would only drive away potential allies goes his argument.

But Advani’s stand may be overruled on the ground that Modi’s strength and USP for BJP lies in his connect with the voters who see him in that slot. Those who in favour for Modi’s declaration as the PM candidate say his projection will only add to the vote share. The RSS has already indicated that it won’t have a problem with Modi’s projection. Also, Modi himself would want that to happen if his appeal has to be enhanced by the BJP, say key strategists.

On Sunday, as he addressed a press conference in New York, Rajnath Singh ruled himself out of the PM race but made it clear Modi as his man for the top job if the party comes to power.


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