Even as speculation on whether Narendra Modi would be made the BJP’s central campaign coordinator at the party’s Goa conclave later this week continued, the Gujarat strongman met BJP chief Rajnath Singh and party patriarch LK Advani in New Delhi on Wednesday.
While top party leaders refused to divulge what Singh and Modi discussed, a view seemed to be firming up that Modi’s subtle elevation would happen sooner or later. For the record, it was said that Modi met Singh to celebrate the BJP’s clean sweep in the Gujarat by-polls.
While not ruling out that Modi could be elevated to the key position at Goa itself, a top BJP leader said it wasn’t clear yet whether this would happen there.
“It may happen. It may not,” the leader said.
Modi himself claimed the Gujarat by-poll victory as an ultimatum to the UPA, subtly positioning himself the way he has been for months now.
There seems to be little enthusiasm for Advani’s proposal to have two parallel committees, something being interpreted as Advani’s attempt to prevent Modi from being elevated as the party’s key leader for 2014.
Nitin Gadkari – Advani’s choice for leading a parallel election management committee – has already cold-shouldered the proposal.
Gadkari – who is close to the BJP’s ideological mentor RSS – may however be given a role in approaching state polls to keep him engaged in party work after he lost a second term months back.
“Having two parallel committees can just create confusion, which the party does not want,” a party insider said.
After being closeted with Rajnath Singh for a long while – where he was served grapes by the host – Modi met Advani, seen as his rival for the prime ministerial candidature, for a brief while in what was seen as an easing of simmering tensions.
“Advani ji was trying to call him to congratulate him over the Gujarat by-poll results, but could not reach him. When Modi got to know this, he came to meet Advani ji to seek his blessings,” said an Advani aide, calling it a courtesy call.
Modi was on a whirlwind tour of the capital to attend the chief ministers’ meet here, catch up with party leaders and meet ambassadors from Latin American nations later in the evening.