Despite his creditable showing, no one knows better than Mr Modi how difficult it will be to cover that distance from Gujarat to Delhi. For a start, many in his own party are fearful that a resurgent Mr Modi at the Centre, were the BJP to come to power, would marginalise them within the BJP. Then there are the unspoken reservations on the part of the RSS, the party’s ideological mentor. The RSS has always been comfortable with a leader that it can control. This explains why it was uncomfortable with the larger-than-life persona of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The party leadership is still harping on how it will take a decision on who will lead the charge in the next general election. But, it will be very hard put to ignore Mr Modi’s claim, were he to make one, for the top post. He has delivered time and again against severe odds at times. He has inspired investor confidence in the state and also put development at the forefront. Both have yielded huge returns for him. Whether anyone likes his Moditva brand or not, Narendra Modi cannot be described as a just another regional leader anymore. This is particularly true of a party which does not have too many tall leaders left. So, downplaying this as a modest victory is neither credible nor productive for the party. Narendra Modi is the brightest star in the BJP’s firmament today and he is certainly not modest about it.