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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

After a decisive win, what next for the BJP?

Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times   May 16, 2014
First Published: 21:15 IST(16/5/2014) | Last Updated: 21:47 IST(16/5/2014)

The NDA’s emphatic victory in the national election establishes Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the BJP’s undisputed leader, who is next expected to overhaul leadership roles within the party.

Modi intends to promote leaders who hold sway over social and regional groups and dilute the upper-caste dominance in decision-making within the party.
 
"Bhajpa ab Brahmin baniyon ki party nahi hai  (BJP is no more a party of Brahmins and Baniyas)," Modi had declared at a rally in Muzaffarpur during his campaign.

The statement, explained party leaders, did not suggest the marginalisation of upper-caste leaders but acknowledged the need for the BJP to look beyond its traditional structure.

Instead of hurriedly changing existing leadership roles, Modi's focus will be to promote a new set of leaders who would eventually become "faces" of the party in their respective areas.

"Under Modi, the BJP will see the rise of leaders from influential social groups with mass following. Leaders from areas where the BJP has been traditionally weak will also get important positions in the party and the government," a senior BJP leader said. 

"Unlike in the past, this time Modi invested in a number of OBC candidates in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and the move has delivered results. The experiment to weave in new social combinations will continue under his leadership," a BJP leader said.

Modi’s immediate challenge will be to replicate the national success in the crucial assembly elections that follow in states such as Maharashtra and Delhi, where the BJP has performed well.

His popularity among the masses is as strong as his acceptance in the party's organisational structure. He is former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and party leader L K Advani rolled into one, say party insiders. “If Vajpayee was party's face, Advani was its driving force. Modi is both.”

Given his organisational skills and clout within the party, Modi’s supporters expect the assembly elections to be a cakewalk.


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