The mood is festive at Rajnath Singh's official residence, close to UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's bungalow on Lucknow's Kalidas Marg. Pre-poll surveys have lifted the BJP's morale. Will the party anoint Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate ahead of the general elections? BJP president indicates for the first time that the Central Parliamentary Board may meet before the polls. Excerpts:
The BJP admits Narendra Modi is their most popular leader, then why is it reluctant to anoint him as their prime ministerial candidate when the state units have started passing resolutions?
There is no doubt that he is a popular national leader but it is the prerogative of the central parliamentary board to take a call on who will be the prime minister or the chief minister. There is no need for resolutions.
Can the CPB meet before the Lok Sabha elections to take a decision on the issue?
Yes, it can. A meeting can be convened before the elections to take a decision on anointing BJP's prime ministerial candidate. However, who would it be will be known only after the meeting.
Why are you hesitant in announcing Modi as BJP's prime ministerial nominee? Is it because of opposition from party patriarch LK Advani?
No one is opposing anyone. It's a question of doing the right thing at the right time, and also how to do it and when to do it.
How come you announced Vasundhara Raje as BJP's chief ministerial candidate ahead of the polls?
I had spoken to all the members of the parliamentary board before the announcement. They all were in favour of Raje's candidature.
What is the BJP's agenda for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls? Hindutva or development?
(Smiles) Hindutva cannot be an election agenda, it's an issue of cultural nationalism, a way of life to maintain the identity of India.
Then why is the Ram temple issue raked up before every polls?
It's not a poll issue. The matter is sub judice.
Is it not sub judice for the saints who are launching Chaurasi kosi parikrama to demand law by Parliament?
Why is there a hue and cry over Chaurasi kosi parikrama? They are sants and mahatmas and can take out yatras. Even Muslims take out processions. Government should ensure there is no trouble.
Will your government enact a law on Ram temple?
It's a hypothetical question. Let us first form the government.
You recently quoted the figure of 272, what's the basis?
The favourable public mood across the country has given us confidence. All surveys have also shown us ahead of Congress.
But UP and Bihar could be your Waterloo?
We are getting extremely good feedback from the two states.
The UPA gave you so many issues on a platter. Don't you think BJP failed to corner the government?
The government has been cornered in Parliament again and again. People have made up their mind and it would reflect in the elections.
Who is your major opponent in Uttar Pradesh?
The BSP and SP contest against the Congress but support its government at the Centre. It's going to be BJP all the way.