In a remark that may not go down well with many second generation leaders in the BJP and cause heartburn to its chief ministers in several states, leader of the Opposition LK Advani on Thursday admitted that Gujarat CM Narendra Modi could be his likely successor in the saffron party. Advani said Modi had proved his mettle much better than his peers.
“I have little doubt very few of the others have proved their ability in the matter of governance and development as Narendra Modi has already proved. So he has great potential,” he said in an interview to CNN-IBN channel on being asked if Modi would be his possible successor in the top slot of the BJP.
There is already a sense of unease in a section of the party’s central leadership over Modi’s enhanced stature and his soaring popularity with the party cadres after the BJP’s resounding victory in the Gujarat assembly elections under his charge. The victory had sparked speculation that he may even pose a threat to Advani’s claim as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate.
This was, however, quickly quashed with the official announcement shortly thereafter that Advani would lead the alliance in the next parliamentary election as its prime ministerial candidate.
That Modi had been accepted in the party as an important leader whose stature and clout extended much beyond Gujarat became evident when he was invited to participate in a meeting of the BJP’s core strategy group at Advani’s residence soon after the party victories in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
He was the only BJP chief minister asked to the distinguished gathering of top party leaders headed by Advani and Rajnath Singh.
Subsequently, at the BJP national executive meet in Delhi, lavish praise was showered on Modi by Advani and other senior leaders for his developmental achievements and administrative acumen. This had ruffled the feathers of other chief ministers like Rajasthan’s Vasundhara Raje, Shivraj Singh Chouhan of MP and Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh.