The new equations that have emerged within the BJP in the wake of Nitin Gadkari’s exit came forth on Sunday with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi meeting newly elected party chief Rajnath Singh to hold over two-hour-long “elaborate talks” on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Newly elected BJP President Rajnath meets Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi at his residence in New Delhi. PTI/Shahbaz Khan
Later, Arun Jaitley, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, called on Rajnath.
Modi, who is the frontrunner among BJP cadres for the Prime Minister’s post, flew down to Delhi for the luncheon meeting with Rajnath two days after the latter hinted that a bigger role for Modi was on the anvil “after discussions with him and other leaders”. However, Modi, sought to downplay their discussion on Sunday. The reason for the visit was to congratulate Rajnath, he said, adding that they also held “detailed discussions” on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“There was a discussion on the 2014 polls. It was quite elaborate,” Modi said after he and Rajnath emerged from the meeting at the BJP president’s Ashoka Road residence. Rajnath confirmed this.
The new warmth between the two became evident when Modi congratulated Rajnath, saying the party would “gain” from this move. He also praised Rajnath’s ability to run the party.
Modi and Rajnath apparently wanted to show that they were making a new beginning, and had buried differences witnessed during the latter's first term between 2006 and 2009. Significantly, Modi was in the loop when senior BJP leaders and RSS leaders decided on Rajnath's name in a dramatic last-minute twist on January 21.
Modi's interaction with Rajnath is part of a larger RSS-BJP plan to ensure greater involvement of senior leaders in the 2014 polls, besides selection of PM candidate.
Shettar to fly down
Meanwhile, with the BJP government in Karnataka facing the threat of being toppled by 13 rebels owing allegiance to former state chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, Karnataka chief minister Jagadish Shettar is set to fly down to Delhi for meeting Rajnath on Monday morning.