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BJP to name Modi as PM candidate despite Sushma, Advani's opposition


Bhupendra Chaubey,CNN-IBN
Sep 12, 2013 at 11:48pm IST

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) patriarch LK Advani may end up being trumped by his own disciple at the party's Parliamentary Board meeting in New Delhi on Friday evening where the leadership is all set to name Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Sources say Advani's objections to Modi's anointment as party's prime ministerial candidate are set to be rejected by the party even though another senior party leader Sushma Swaraj voiced her opposition to the proposal.

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BJP President Rajanth Singh is also making last minute efforts in order to reach out to Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi for a consensus on Modi's candidature and also denied reports of differences within the party. He said, "There is no problem at all within the BJP. It is wrong to say there are differences within the party."

Sources say both Advani and Sushma will attend the Parliamentary Board meeting and speak out against Modi. Sushma has also cancelled her Ambala trip to attend the meeting, sources add.

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For the last three days, there was a speculation that with Modi coming to Delhi on Friday, his anointment would take place on the same day.

But despite being isolated within the party, Advani is unlikely to go down without a fight even as several leaders have openly said that the BJP needs Modi's leadership. Advani has conveyed to Rajnath that announcing Modi's name at this stage could adversely impact the party's performance in the Assembly polls in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh later in 2013.

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Both Advani and Sushma are insisting that the decision on Modi's candidature should be taken after state polls. Even Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is against nominating Modi before Assembly polls.

Sources say Murli Manohar Joshi will not be a hurdle in Modi's way.

ALSO SEE Advani tells Rajnath he'll oppose Modi at BJP Parliamentary board meet

But the party wants Advani on board and former party chief Nitin Gadkari and senior leader S Gurumurthy will try to have a final meeting with Advani on Friday to persuade him to favour Modi's candidature.

Rajnath is left with two options now. He can either call for a Parliamentary Board meet and risk facing Advani's wrath or he simply makes an announcement on Modi and get it ratified later by the national council.

The only worrying factor for him still is whether Advani will repeat a Goa like scenario where he stepped down from all party posts after Modi was anointed party's poll panel chief. Sources said Advani had conveyed to Rajnath that he will attend the Parliamentary Board meeting and register his protest on nominating Modi.

But the Advani camp is leaving no chance to target Modi. Former Advani aide Sudheendra Kulkarni accused Modi of polarising the party. He tweeted, "A socially polarising leader has polarised his own party. Can he run a smooth, stable and effective government at the Centre? THINK SERIOUSLY," Kulkarni tweeted.

He added, "How does it augur well for the BJP if the party's tallest leader doesn't bless Modi for the top job?"

Backing Modi's candidature is Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi. He said, "The problem for Advani though is that there aren't too many of his proteges willing to stand by him. For the eternal yatri of Indian politics, ironically, his own party may just end up putting a full stop to his political yatra."

Even sacked BJP leader and eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani came out in support of Modi and said, "I believe Modi is the best option for BJP PM's candidate, he is an avatar." He also took a dig at Advani saying he will not win votes. He said, "Advani should have more realistic view over his hold over the people. He cannot win votes."

Sources say Rajnath is still keen on achieving consensus on Modi's nomination. The RSS wants Modi nominated, but has left the decision on the process and timing of announcement to Rajnath, said sources.

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