NEW DELHI: Narendra Modi has formally bagged BJP’s prime ministerial nomination, winning an often bitter power struggle within the main opposition and throwing down the gauntlet to the ruling Congress for a direct contest with its scion Rahul Gandhi in the 2014 general elections.
BJP patriarch LK Advani refused to endorse the Gujarat chief minister’s anointment and stayed away from the meeting of the party’s parliamentary board that ratified the decision on Friday.
A sulking Advani publicised his reservations by penning yet another letter to party president Rajnath Singh. “When you came to meet me this afternoon to inform me of the parliamentary board meeting I had expressed my pain and had expressed my disappointment on your manner of functioning,” the 85-year-old leader said in the letter. “I had told you that I will consider whether I should come to the meeting and express my views or not. I have decided that it is best that I do not attend the meeting.”
The party chose to overrule Advani, who told Singh’s emissary, Nitin Gadkari, in the afternoon that the formal announcement on Modi should be made only after the series of assembly polls later this year. Gadkari, however, made it clear the matter could not be stalled any longer. Advani then sought the intervention of the party’s ideological mentor, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a leader familiar with the developments said. But RSS leader Bhaiyyaji Joshi told Advani that it was BJP’s decision and everybody in the party should go along with it, the leader added.
Sushma Swaraj, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, took her reservations against the decision to the party’s parliamentary board. She repeated Advani’s stance, only to be strongly countered by Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and Thawar Chand Gehlot. All three argued that the party could not be unmindful of the sentiments of the cadre and public opinion.Share on Facebook