Monday, Sep 15, 2014

Modi is BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate despite Advani’s objection

Written by Ravish Tiwari | New Delhi | Posted: September 14, 2013 12:57 pm

Aiming to tap what it perceives is a groundswell of support for Narendra Modi,the Bharatiya Janata Party Friday formally announced that the Gujarat chief minister is the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the next Lok Sabha elections.

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The announcement marked a significant powershift in the 32-year-old party as it did not have the backing of L K Advani,a party veteran and one of its founders. Advani was opposed to Modi being named as the party’s PM candidate ahead of the assembly elections in Chhattisgarh,Madhya Pradesh,Rajasthan and Delhi,due later this year.

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The decision to project Modi was taken at a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board which Advani skipped as a mark of protest. And key leaders at that meeting who decided to brush aside the patriarch’s reservations belonged to the second generation of the party that had been nurtured by Advani — Narendra Modi,Rajnath Singh,Sushma Swaraj,Arun Jaitley,Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar.

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It was also the second time in three months that Advani found himself fighting a losing battle,indicating which way the wind in the party was blowing.

The BJP had snubbed Advani on June 9 too when party president Rajnath Singh announced Modi as the party’s 2014 poll campaign panel chief at the national executive meeting in Goa. Advani had boycotted the meeting in a bid to stall the move. However,the same second generation leaders had agreed to the decision and pushed it through.

On Friday,Advani was also absent from the press conference at which Rajnath Singh announced the decision of the parliamentary board. Singh said the decision had the support of both the other NDA parties – Akali Dal and Shiv Sena – but refused to field questions regarding Advani’s absence.

Advani himself spoke,through a brief letter to Singh,in words critical of the party chief and without making a reference to Modi.

“I told you about my anguish and disappointment with your working style this afternoon when you came to tell me about the meeting of parliamentary board today,” he wrote in Hindi. “I had told you that I will consider whether I should attend the meeting and express my views before all the members. I have decided that it would be appropriate for me not to attend the meeting”.

Singh,however,sought to convey that he was taking this criticism in his stride.

“Advani is my guardian and mentor. He has every right to guide me and scold me. I have very high regard for him. I can never forget his contribution to the party. My respect for him will never diminish,” Singh told The Indian Express when asked about Advani’s letter.

Modi,in his brief remarks,thanked the BJP leadership and NDA leaders and described it as a “very big responsibility.” He said he would leave no stone unturned to live up to the party’s expectations.

“I seek the blessings of countrymen. I hope they will support the battle against corruption and continued…

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