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Mar 02, 2013 at 02:18pm IST

Clamour grows for bigger role for Modi as BJP chief Rajnath Singh lauds him

New Delhi: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is clearly emerging as the front runner for the BJP's Prime Ministerial Candidate in spite of the warning by BJP President Rajnath Singh to not name leaders. The clamour for Modi continues to grow louder at the three-day National Executive meet where the party is putting together its strategy for the 2014 General Elections.

Rajnath on Saturday lauded Modi for being elected Chief Minister three times in a row. Rajnath welcomed Modi on stage and said, "It's not proper for me to welcome Narendra Modi just by using words, so I would request all of you to stand up and welcome him with an applause." While asking everyone to applaud for Modi, Rajnath said, "All countries are talking about Modi's developmental model. Under Modi's leadership we have won Gujarat elections the third time."

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BJP leader Vinod Khanna said the party is ready to decide the Prime Ministerial candidate and that Modi is the front runner. "All the capabilities of all the candidates will be considered by the party, and then the candidate will be declared. But right now Mod is the front runner," said Khanna.

While, BJP National Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said that there is lot of interest in Modi and said that a formal announcement will be made soon, Najma Heptullah said that that whoever will be suitable will be decided by the party.

Sources say the Gujarat Chief Minister is likely to be made the chairman of the BJP election committee but a formal decision unlikely to be taken till the end of March. All eyes are on Modi's role in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. "There are many challenges that lie ahead of us," added Rajnath.

Meanwhile, the council is expected to ratify Rajnath's election to the post of party president. The conclave will also discuss poll preparations for crucial state elections like MP, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi.

The three-day conclave of BJP kicked off on Saturday with the spotlight on the Gujarat Chief Minister, projected by some as the party's Prime ministerial face, amid voices in the party that his popularity has grown significantly to make a mark on the national polity.

BJP is expected to chalk out a strategy to project itself as an alternative in the next general elections at the meeting of its National Council. In the national executive meeting, the rising stock of Modi was visible as party leaders, including Rajnath, gave him a special welcome and noted that the European Union is recognising his achievements.

Modi will also be making a presentation on "good governance" before the party leaders on the last day of the National Council meeting and so would Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on "Antyodaya". The party's strategy for the upcoming elections is with the motto of 'Sushasan sankalp, BJP vikalp' (BJP as the alternative pledges good governance).

With Additional Inputs from PTI

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