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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Rajnath Singh's gag order for BJP

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 30, 2013
First Published: 14:19 IST(30/1/2013) | Last Updated: 00:10 IST(31/1/2013)

As the debate over the BJP's prime ministerial candidate grew shriller, the new party chief Rajnath Singh on Wednesday finally urged party leaders to exercise restraint while airing their views.

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"Leaders should maintain good speech and conduct...They should show restraint," said Singh, on his second visit to the party office since he took charge last week.

Though the party has officially maintained that it will take a decision on its PM candidate later, the last three days saw senior leaders like Yashwant Sinha, CP Thakur and suspended party leader Ram Jethmalani openly voicing their support for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's candidature.

On Wednesday, senior party leader Venkaiah Naidu said there was no dearth of leadership in the BJP.

"Advaniji (LK Advani), Sushmaji (Sushma Swaraj), myself..." he said in Panaji.

However, NDA allies have divergent views on the issue.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has harped on how the late Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had considered Sushma Swaraj "better" than other candidates for the top post.

BJP ally Sukhbir Singh Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal told CNN-IBN that the party had no problem with Modi or anyone else that the BJP chose.

And Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar has always been open about his opposition to Modi's candidature.

Rajnath Singh met Sushma Swaraj for lunch on Wednesday, and is believed to have discussed factionalism in the Rajasthan BJP between the Vasundhara Raje and Gulab Chand Kataria camps.

On Friday, the BJP core group will meet to decide on the upcoming national council meet of the party.


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