Riding over dissent and differences within, Gujarat Chief Minister and Hindutva icon Narendra Modi was yesterday named to lead the BJP into the 2014 Lok Sabha battle, marking the end of the era of the party’s ageing patriarchs.The BJP announced that Modi had been named chairman of the election management committee for the Lok Sabha polls, virtually ensuring that he will call the shots in the run up to the general elections.
The announcement was made by party president Rajnath Singh at the end of a two-day national executive meeting that saw heavy wrangling between a section backed by party patriarch LK Advani, who opposed Modi’s ascent, and another group backing Modi’s candidature. It’s said that the BJP’s ideological mentor, the RSS, reportedly instructed the party to end its dithering and announce Modi’s new role on the final day of a party conclave in Goa despite Advani’s absence.
Modi’s elevation puts him in the same league as the party’s other mega leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani. File pic
“The coming Lok Sabha polls are a big challenge. We are going in to win. Keeping the campaign in mind, I have appointed Narendra Modi as the head of the campaign committee,” Singh said outside the BJP conclave venue. “The decision has been taken on the basis of consensus. We are sure the BJP will lead the next government,” Singh added, flanked by Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar.
‘Advani blessed me’
After his appointment, Modi tweeted, “Spoke to Advaniji... He gave me his blessings. Honoured and extremely grateful to receive his blessings. Senior leaders have reposed faith in me. We will leave no stone unturned for Congress Mukt Bharat Nirman. Thanks for support & blessings.”
Modi goes gaga over Goa
Goa has a special place in my life, BJP’s man of the moment Narendra Modi said, shortly after being appointed chairman of the party’s election management committee. “This is the same Goa, which gave me the go-ahead to serve Gujarat,” Modi said, recalling that year’s BJP national executive meeting, which had served as a political springboard for his success. The 2002 meet had been held against the backdrop of the post-Godhra riots where Modi was under fire from a section of the BJP, some of whom were keen on him quitting the CM’s post. “If Goa had not given me the permission, I would not have been able to serve in Gujarat. Goa has given me blessings,” he said.
BJP vs BJP
Senior party leader LK Advani’s unease with Narendra Modi - he stayed away from the BJP meet citing stomach illness - led to an unprecedented heckling at his Delhi house by Modi fans demanding that the senior leader relent and make way for the Gujarat chief minister as the face of the 2014 polls. In his blog yesterday, a ‘hurt’ Advani evoked a string of historical and mythological anecdotes involving Hitler, Mussolini, a wounded and betrayed Bhishma Pitamaha and warrior Arjuna. He also made references to dictatorial tendencies a trait critics see in Modi. The differences between the two factions throughout the conclave forced party leaders to play down Advani’s absence.
@DeShobhaa Namo! Namo! Ab sab chup chup baith ke tamasha dekho...
@suhelseth After Modi being named, Advani begins to feel violently unwell...
@PrabhuChawla Advani is genuinely unwell due and can’t travel. Sources tell me that he has taken JD(u)’s nod for #NaMO as campaign chief and NOT 4 PM!
@DILIPtheCHERIAN Suspect the Die Is Cast ! Big Q now is will the #NaMo move help trigger a possible 2013 Election
@rameshsrivats Narendra Modi to lead the BJP campaign for 2014. Meh! The Congress decided their leader 42 years back.
@albatrossinfo Dilli intellectual club is totally clueless about the phenomenon of Narendra Modi, still talking about polarization/secularism/divisive
@stupidusmaximus Poor Advani. Ignored and forgotten, like the Constitution in Gujarat.
@mojorojo What Advani is going through right now is called LKPD
@sidin Swirling rumours that the BJP will pick Laxman Sivaramakrishnan as Prime Minister candidate for next polls.