Aimed at galvanising the party cadre into battle ready mode, BJP president Rajnath Singh on Sunday announced Gujarat CM Narendra Modi as chairman of the party’s election campaign committee. The move has significantly altered the nature of electoral contest the country would witness starting with polls to five States and culminating with the 2014 LS polls. Modi will lead the party’s charge for ensuring a Congress Mukt Bharat Nirman (Congress Free India).
Party cadre across the country celebrated Modi’s entry into the national stage. The energy pill the party had promised had been administered.
Rajnath made the most anticipated announcement at the end of the two-day National Executive meet in Goa, overriding all internal divisions — as manifested by senior BJP leader L K Advani’s absence. Modi’s elevation means he will have a national role, deciding campaign strategy ahead of polls, imprinting it with his distinct style. He will now pick his own team. The post has assumed significance this time, as it would mark a generational shift in the 33-year old party. During elections in 2004 Pramod Mahajan was incharge, and in 2009 it was Arun Jaitley. But at the time, A B Vajpayee and Advani were the party’s tallest leaders.
Party strategists hope that in the new role Modi would become the face of the BJP’s campaign, and it would take him closer to Prime Ministership, if the party goes on to win over 180 seats in the Lok Sabha elections that could be advanced even to November this year.
The National Executive meeting in Goa was dominated by Modi’s elevation vs Advani’s absence. Senior leaders discussed the issue till late on Saturday night and, with the help of BJP’s ideological mentor RSS advice, the decision was taken in favour of Modi.
Taking a decision in Advani’s absence would have meant diminishing his role, as Sushma Swaraj is learnt to have said. But owing to popular pressure, Rajnath took the “bold decision.” To scotch rumours of rift, sources said Modi and Rajnath may travel to Delhi to seek Advani’s “blessing”.