BJP likely to spell out Narendra Modi’s role today
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. Vikas Pathak reports. Modi relishes limelight, awaits his moment | Old whine in old bottles | What ails BJP | One-time mentor now against himindia Updated: Jun 09, 2013 08:23 IST
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.”
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.
Adding to the build-up, a few Modi supporters gathered outside Advani’s residence in Delhi and shouted slogans. The BJP condemned the act and said the protesters had nothing to do with the party.
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.
Among other absentees, Uma Bharti, who had reported sick, wrote to Rajnath saying she was with him on every decision while Yashwant Sinha said, "I don't have NaMonia. I am perfectly healthy. There can be other reasons for skipping the meet."