A sprinting Modi vs a crawling BJPhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/latest-news/a-sprinting-modi-vs-a-crawling-bjp/

A sprinting Modi vs a crawling BJP

No leader of any significance within the BJP publicly contests the party's "most popular leader" Narendra Modi’s claim for its prime ministerial candidature

No leader of any significance within the BJP publicly contests the party’s “most popular leader” Narendra Modi’s claim for its prime ministerial candidature. However,the fact that the party is cautious about this projection has so far gone under the radar.

Since his third consecutive election victory in Gujarat last December,Modi has addressed national audiences through public appearances outside the state,apparently as a pitch for a national role. The first was at an event at a Delhi University college in February. Later,he addressed FICCI in the national capital,followed in close succession by two media events in the city. He then travelled to Kolkata and addressed industrialists. On Wednesday,he was at Sivagiri Mutt in Varkala (Kerala),while on Friday,he was in Haridwar (Uttarakhand) to participate in a function organised by yoga guru Ram-dev. What is common to all these appearances outside Gujarat is that none of these was on BJP platform.

This raises the obvious question that if the BJP really has made up its mind on Modi,why have party platforms so far avoided launching him at the national level?

If it only highlights the struggle the BJP is having with working out electoral calculations before the next Lok Sabha polls — particularly keeping wary allies in mind — Modi too seems to be cherry-picking and avoiding party platforms that may dent the invincible imagery he is seeking to project.

For example,despite his induction into the BJP’s apex decision-making parliamentary board and central election committee,the Gujarat CM skipped meetings to finalise candidates for Karnataka. He has also shown no pro-active interest to campaign and boost party prospects in a state the BJP looks set to lose.

Ravish is an assistant editor based in Delhi