PM nominee: Bhagwat calls on BJP biggies
By Express News Service | Published: 07th September 2013 07:31 AM |
As the issue of announcing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate is still being debated within the party, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has met senior party leaders L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj over the issue.
This is the second meeting within less than a week where a senior RSS leader was closeted with Advani and Sushma, who are said to be opposed to nominating Modi for the top job before five Assembly elections are over. Last Sunday, RSS leader Suresh ‘Bhaiyaji’ Joshi met them in the presence of BJP president Rajnath Singh.
Though party leaders were tight-lipped about the outcome of the meeting, they hinted that the Prime Ministerial candidate issue was discussed at the meeting. Both Sushma and Advani have been insisting that announcing Modi’s name before the Assembly polls will relegate corruption issues to the background and impact the performance of BJP Chief Ministers of poll-bound states.
On the same day the three leaders met over dinner, Modi said he didn’t nurse Prime Ministerial ambitions and would rather focus on his state till 2017. His remark was immediately interpreted both as a pressure tactic and as a reflection of his desperation over the party’s dithering on the issue.
A strong pro-Modi lobby within the BJP wants his name announced in September. And Modi will be holding four rallies in Jaipur, Ambikapur (Chattisgarh), Rewari (Haryana), Trichy (Tamil Nadu)in September. A crucial two-day meet of the RSS, BJP and other saffron organisations is scheduled to begin on September 8. Jailed IPS officer D G Vanzara’s allegations seeking to implicate Modi and his confidant Amit Shah in fake encounter cases have further clouded the Gujarat Chief Minister’s prospects. The last week has been significant because of several high-profile meetings. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan had a meeting with Advani, hours after Joshi held meeting with Advani and Sushma. Though it turned out that Chauhan was also opposed to Modi being named the PM candidate before Madhya Pradesh elections, he has denied that he is against Modi.
“Reports in certain sections of media around my objection to Narendra Modi being declared as PM candidate are baseless & misleading,” Chauhan tweeted.