Arriving in Lucknow to a low key welcome -- sans any garlands, slogans or frenzied clapping by the cadre – to indicate solidarity with Uttarakhand’s grief, Singh straightaway got busy denying ‘Modi’s hyped Rambo act’ in the hill state that was the subject of much debate and consternation among Modi baiters.
The Congress had criticized Modi for limiting the rescue act to Gujarat alone, an impression that the BJP wanted to dispel given the larger national responsibilities that the Gujarat chief minister has been entrusted with by the BJP chief.
Admitting that Modi was the most popular leader at present, Rajnath said the impression that the Gujarat chief minister had rescued 15,000 Gujaratis in the hill state in a day (the perceived Rambo act) could have been created by an enthusiastic cadre.
“Modi went to Uttarakhand to express his sympathies, and it is being said that he evacuated 15,000 Gujaratis from there. I talked to him and he said that he never gave any such statement,” Singh said.
Rajnath also dropped hints of party going it alone in the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, thus scuttling talks of alliance with either the Apna Dal or a fresh alliance with RLD and in Bihar, where the party’s 17-year old ally the JD (U) has snapped ties with the BJP-led NDA on the issue of Modi. Rajnath indicated that Modi’s elevation was expected to help the BJP both in UP and Bihar. He also said the party would promote young and fresh faces.
Throughout the day, Rajnath faced a volley of questions both from the cadre as well as journalists on Modi’s likely role in Uttar Pradesh. He heard out the cadre which backed the demand for Modi’s active role in UP, either as a contestant or a campaigner and kept a straight face while talking to journalists on probabilities of Modi contesting from UP. “The party’s Parliamentary board decides all such issues, not me alone,” he said.
But with Amit Shah being tasked with UP affairs, Rajnath has dropped enough hints that there won’t be any rethink on the issue of Modi.