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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Narendra Modi confirms date with Delhi, silent on Kumbh

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 03, 2013
First Published: 23:27 IST(3/2/2013) | Last Updated: 09:27 IST(6/2/2013)

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is looking forward to his first interaction with the Delhi youth this week, probably even more than his much talked-about political debut as the Hindutva poster boy at the Kumbh later this month.

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In what has been billed as his first interaction outside the state in the wake of reports that he will play a "big role" for the BJP ahead of the 2014 polls, Modi will address students of the Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) on February 6.

Modi will deliver an oration in memory of its founder, and later face a question-and-answer session on administrative issues and ways in which the Gujarat development model can be implemented across the country.

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Modi's Delhi appearance will signal the start of a series of interactions across the country during 2013, in the run-up to the next Parliamentary polls.

Sources said Modi is yet to make any plans for his appearance at Kumbh, Allahabad, as well as joining the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-backed gathering of sadhus on February 7. "If at all Modi goes to Kumbh at a later date, it will be for strictly religious reasons," said an aide.

VHP leader Ashok Singhal, while backing Modi's candidature for the PM's post, had hinted at a "big decision" on Hindutva-related issues at the sadhus' meet.

Modi's proposed interaction at SRCC was organised by BJP leaders, including ex-alumni Arun Jaitley, as a "trial-run" to showcase the Gujarat CM's popularity among the youth, his pro-development administration, tech-savvy approach and the ability to take quick decisions. "This will serve to counter the Congress's projection of Rahul Gandhi as a youth icon," said a party functionary.

The Janata Dal(U), an NDA ally, questioned the role of sadhus in determining the PM candidate. Its spokesperson, Shivanand Tiwari, said that the BJP should decide the issue in consultation with its allies.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, meanwhile, denied saying in an interview to a Hindi newspaper that the BJP should declare its PM candidate prior to the Lok Sabha polls.

Kumbh visit still a mystery

Narendra Modi's much-anticipated Kumbh visit is still shrouded in suspense. Local BJP leaders in Allahabad have confirmed his visit as 'very likely.'

Shashi Varshneya, a BJP leader from Allahabad, confirmed the same. Sources say, Modi is most likely to visit Kumbh either on February 6 or on February 7. The dates coincide with Vishwa Hindu Parishad's core committee meet.


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