New Delhi: The absence of many leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party's Parliamentary Board meeting on Friday and its national executive meet this weekend has given its rivals a chance to take potshots at the party. The Congress and the Samajwadi Party said the absence of the other BJP leaders is a sign of things to come.
Taking a dig at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said, "If BJP leaders are falling ill because of Narendra Modi, then the BJP must think what impact would Narendra Modi have on the nation. My full sympathies with those BJP leaders who aren't well."
"BJP's national party has got so many good leaders like Advani, Jaitley and Sushma, but they are banking on a preson whose hands are full of blood. The BJP may sweep the elections in Gujarat, but that does not mean that Modi is a good candidate," SP leader Kamal Faruqui said.
This came as reports of many BJP leaders skipping the crucial meets surfaced. Senior BJP leader LK Advani will not attend the party's Parliamentary Board meeting in Goa on Friday. Sources say while he is citing health concerns and will head to Goa only on Saturday, he is also upset with the latest developments over Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the party.
The question now is as to why is Advani skipping the extended Parliamentary Board meeting. A last ditch attempt is being made to block a formal announcement on Modi as campaign committee chief. The second possible reason could be to dissociate himself from the decision on Modi or to put pressure on Rajnath Singh to hold on to any announcement till the end of assembly elections.
Meanwhile, many other BJP leaders will skip the BJP national executive in Goa. BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha who is in Mumbai has said he is unwell, Jaswant Singh too has said he is unwell. BJP leaders Varun Gandhi and Ravi Shankar Prasad will also give it a miss.
Earlier on Friday, sources said that the RSS has given a green signal to Narendra Modi being named as the BJP's campaign committee chief for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Sources say that RSS in-charge for BJP Suresh Soni met BJP President Rajnath Singh on Thursday.
In fact, the BJP President has called for an extended Parliamentary Board meet on Friday and sources say a decision on Modi is likely within the next 48 hours. Sources say a few senior leaders including LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj want more time before a decision on Modi as the campaign committee chief is taken.
But there are supporters too. "There is no doubt that Modi is the most popular leader," BJP leader Balbir Punj said. Goa CM Manohar Parrikar also added, "Modi is undoubtedly the most popular leader of the BJP. He should be made the face of the party in 2014, when and how will that be declared, it's for the party to decide.IBN News Buzz: Marya Shakil on whether Narendra Modi will be BJP's campaign chief for 2014 polls