Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is most likely to be named the prime minister candidate of the BJP for the 2014 polls a few days bfore his birth day on September 17, top BJP sources confirmed to HT.
The indication came as senior party leaders and RSS bigwigs went into a two-day, day-long huddle on Sunday, for evolving a coordinated strategy on "ideological matters" ahead of the next year's elections.
Though declaration of his candidature would have nothing to do with Modi's birthday, an announcement was expected after a formal meeting of the BJP parliamentary board a few days before September 16, the sources said.
The RSS, the BJP's ideological parent, has left it to party chief Rajnath Singh to choose the actual date to make the announcement.
Singh was "empowered" by the RSS to take a decision in favour of Modi though internal efforts to persuade senior BJP patriarch LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj to accept the declaration of the Gujarat strongman's candidature did not appear to have met with success so far.
Both Advani and Swaraj pitched for the decision after the next round of assembly polls in five states including Delhi, MP and Rajasthan in November -- on the ground that Modi's coronation should not obfuscate state issues, which could benefit the Congress.
But Singh and other BJP leaders have apparently concluded that "the people's mood, cadres' enthusiasm and the situation in the country favoured Modi's immediate elevation and boost for the BJP's preparations for 2014."
According to the key insiders, Singh, who is in a "decisive mood", does not foresee more than a low-key dissent from the anti-Modi group in the BJP. His idea is to get over with the "coronation" much before the beginning of inauspicious pitrupaksh period from September 19-20 and declaration of state polls dates around September 22.
Singh conveyed his readiness to move ahead on Modi to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat last Wednesday This was after Bhagwat held a dinner meet with Advani and Swaraj on the same issue and gave his impression.
On Saturday night, Modi met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at the Sangh headquarters in New Delhi. The two leaders apparently discussed Modi's elevation and subsequent political impact.
Aware of the divided opinion in BJP over Modi's leadership, Bhagwat and other RSS leaders were guided by the assessment from the RSS cadres and BJP leaders favouring Modi.
On Sunday, Advani joined the second half of the BJP-RSS meet, which was attended by Modi and other BJP leaders including Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely. The overwhelming view that emerged in the conclave was that the BJP, RSS and its affiliates would do their bit to buttress the ideological issues in their own ways.