BJP conclave: Modi arrives in Goa; Advani will not attend today's office-bearers meet
BJP leader LK Advani will skip the meeting of party office-bearers in Goa today due to ill health. However, The 85-year-old senior party leader will be attending the party's national executive on Saturday and Sunday in Goa.Modi 'best weapon' for BJP; Pawar calls him 'inflated balloon'Updated: Jun 07, 2013, 17:55 IST
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who is being touted as the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) possible prime ministerial candidate and the one who will lead the party's 2014 general election campaign, was given a rousing welcome by BJP supporters and leaders soon after his arrival in Goa on Friday.
He was received by Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar and other senior party leaders.
Soon after his arrival, Modi offered his condolences to finance minister P Chidambaram and his family on hearing the news of the death of the latter's mother in Chennai.
He prayed for the peace of the departed soul and for the almighty to give strength to the Chidambaram family in their hour of bereavement.
BJP veteran LK Advani and many senior leaders will be missing from the meeting of the office bearers of the party in Goa ahead of the two-day national executive meeting over the weekend.
The meeting is seen as significant as the matter of who will lead the Bharatiya Janata Party's campaign committee for the 2014 general elections is likely to feature in it.
Sources from the party say Advani will not attend the office-bearers' meeting, seen as a preparatory one.
Advani, however, is expected to reach Goa Saturday morning, in time for the national executive conference.
The 85-year-old party veteran has cited health reasons for skipping the meeting.
Another senior party leader, 75-year-old Jaswant Singh, told reporters in New Delhi that he was "going to hospital" and may not be in Goa.
Some other faces missing are Uma Bharati, who wrote to party president Rajnath Singh expressing inability to attend, on grounds of poor health. Party general secretary Varun Gandhi is travelling abroad, and will remain absent too.
Deputy leader of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha Ravishankar Prasad, who is in Sri Lanka, will also miss the Goa session.
The office bearers' meeting Friday is scheduled to begin 3 pm. Members of the BJP's parliamentary board, the highest decision making body of the party, general secretaries, and state chiefs of the party are set to attend.
Modi's role in the next Lok Sabha elections is expected to be the dominant theme of the BJP meet, amid a strong demand from some sections of the party for declaring him the campaign committee head.
"There is expectation among the cadre that BJP president Rajnath Singh will give out a clear message to the party at the Goa conclave. He has been working on it and is in consultation with BJP top brass and members of Parliamentary Board prior to the conclave," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said when asked about the issue.
Asked if decks have been cleared for Modi to be announced as the campaign committee chief, Rudy said nothing has been firmed up yet. He refused to comment further on it.
However, sources said Singh is still in consultation with the top leadership on the issue.
There are apprehensions that some die-hard Modi supporters who are part of the BJP National Executive may publicly demand during the conclave that the Gujarat chief minister be made the head of the campaign committee.
Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has virtually ruled out the possibility of Modi's name being announced at the meet.
Asked if leadership issue is the focus of Goa conclave, Sinha told a news channel, "The National Executive of the BJP is too large as a body to discuss leadership issues. BJP has already made it very clear that these issues will be decided in the Parliamentary Board."
While Modi will hog the limelight whether an announcement about his role in the Lok Sabha elections is made or not, the party will discuss other aspects of the preparations for the next general elections.
The National Executive will pass two resolutions. There will be a resolution on the internal and external security situation in the country and the UPA government's failure to deal effectively with the challenges.
Though BJP usually passes a political and an economic resolution at its national executive meets, a change has been made in the forthcoming conclave.
Sources said this has been done due to the recent Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh on Congress leaders. The BJP government in the state has drawn flak for the incident.
The political resolution to be adopted at the Goa meet will incorporate the economic issues, party sources said. Issues like price rise, state of the economy, corruption and scams will figure in this resolution.
Discussions on other matters like strengthening the party at the booth level and issues to be taken to the people are also on the agenda.
Relations with NDA allies like JD(U) and the need for winning over more parties to the coalition will also figure.
(With inputs from PTI)