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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Narendra Modi certain in BJP parliamentary board

Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 21, 2013
First Published: 00:44 IST(21/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:29 IST(21/3/2013)

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is almost certain to be the only new face — besides being the only chief minister — to figure in the BJP parliamentary board in the run-up to the general elections.

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Party sources said the decision to reserve a seat for Modi at the high table was made despite a section of the top leadership supporting Shivraj Singh Chouhan, CM of poll-bound MP. Finally, it was the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that took a final call.

The sources said Singh might make Modi in charge of the election campaign committee once the election dates are announced.

Meanwhile, the new BJP chief is expected to unveil his team of office-bearers a day after the Holi festival. The list was discussed with RSS leaders in Jaipur on March 6, followed by a series of informal consultations.

The RSS blocked the nomination of former finance and foreign minister and Hazaribagh MP Yashwant Sinha as a party vice-president for publicly airing his views on past president Nitin Gadkari’s second term. Gadkari was backed by the RSS.

For the vice-president slots, the contenders are Uma Bharati, CP Thakur, SS Ahluwalia, Vinay Katiyar and Kalraj Mishra, among others.

A section of the RSS does not want the former Gujarat home minister and an accused in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter case, Amit Shah, to become general secretary till the case is solved. The  Hindutva apex body is pitching for party national secretary Murlidhar Rao.

Also in the race for the general secretary slots are Varun Gandhi, Nirmala Setharaman, spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy and former Jharkhand CM Arjun Munda.

Singh is likely to pitch for Rudy and Munda. Sources said there would be a change in the list of party spokespersons too, with chief spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad being made deputy leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

Although the present party treasurer Piyush Goel wants to be relieved to pursue his studies in Harvard University, Singh and other leaders are keen on retaining him as the chief fund manager in the run-up to the crucial general elections.

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