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BJP GenNext under pressure

With a day left for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) national executive and council meet in Nagpur, two issues have come to the fore, reports Shekhar Iyer.

delhi Updated: Feb 05, 2009 01:10 IST
Shekhar Iyer

With a day left for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) national executive and council meet in Nagpur, two issues have come to the fore.

First, pressure is building on the party’s second-generation leaders, who are Rajya Sabha members, to plunge into the campaign. Second, everyone is waiting to see what role is assigned to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), interestingly, is watching the proceedings from the sidelines. In fact, neither RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan nor general secretary Mohan Bhagwat will be present in Nagpur — which is also the RSS headquarters — to attend the meet to be held from February 6-8. They are away on “tours as previously planned”.

While Advani wanted Modi to come to the centrestage to handle campaign management, party chief Rajnath Singh is not too enthusiastic about the idea. Alternatively, there is talk of elevating Modi to the party’s parliamentary board. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan too could make it to the board as the Sangh would not like only Modi to be given a berth.

Two days ago, Sushma Swaraj proudly announced her decision to contest from Bhopal, saying, “L.K. Advani asked us — Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and myself — to fight the polls. That’s the best way we can prove our strength. I have fought the polls eight times before.”