All signs pointed to a big announcement at the BJP conclave on Sunday — in all likelihood, the elevation of poster boy Narendra Modi to central campaign committee coordinator or maybe, even more.
Patriarch LK Advani’s decision to skip the national executive altogether didn’t seem to dampen spirits in Goa as one BJP leader said on Saturday, “We are moving towards consensus on a clear formulation of Modi’s role. It may even be something clearer than a campaign committee announcement. He also wants a clear message from the party.”
Modi will also speak on election management at the conclave and address a local BJP public function.
Dropping a broad hint, BJP chief Rajnath Singh told delegates, “Your sentiments will be kept in mind. Please go back from here with enthusiasm and energy tomorrow.” He added that Advani had told him in the morning that the party had his “blessings”.BJP leaders were closeted till late evening trying to define the contours of Modi’s future role, but some suggested there could still be last-minute twists and turns. "To be or not to be is our situation. Wait till tomorrow," said a top leader, suggesting that things were still fluid.
If the big news does come on Sunday, Modi will become, in people's eyes, the de facto face of the BJP for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
There were reports that Advani's tacit nod had been obtained through a proposal to make Modi convenor and Rajnath coordinator of the body, but a party leader said there was no such offer.
Advani, who hasn't ruled himself out of the prime ministerial race, is known to be displeased with a Modi-only pitch, and had suggested a parallel election management committee for the assembly polls under Nitin Gadkari. But the party rejected his idea and Gadkari himself said on Saturday, "Why should there be another committee under me when I myself don't want to head one."
This is the first time the 85-year-old BJP veteran has stayed away from a national executive, telling Rajnath his doctor had advised him rest.
While some leaders insisted he was really unwell, many others accepted that he was sulking.
BJP President Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi are expected to meet party patriarch LK Advani in Delhi on Sunday or Monday.