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Jan 28, 2013 at 09:06pm IST

Narendra Modi's rise may close NDA's doors to regional parties

New Delhi: A day after the meeting between BJP president Rajnath Singh and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, senior party leader Yashwant Sinha pitched hard for the latter, saying that the BJP should name Modi as its prime ministerial candidate.

To a large section of the party, it's just a matter of time before Modi gets a larger role at the centre. Sources say that Rajnath Singh, who in his first term as party president didn't really get along with Modi, is now comfortable with the idea of making him the chairman of party's campaign committee.

But it won't be easy for the BJP to take a decision either way on Modi. After all, giving him a larger role within the party will also have to be approved by the RSS and other NDA allies. With both groups, Modi isn't exactly 'Mr Popular', which is one reason why the party was quick to distance itself from Yashwant's statement today.

Venkaiah Naidu and Rajnath Singh have both said that what Yashwant had said was his personal opinion and that the party will decide on the issue later.

However, it is the second part of Sinha's statement that has created more unease within NDA's key ally, the Janata Dal (United). Sinha said that the party must accept the BJP's decision on Modi, if and when it comes, and if the JD(U) disagreed with it then "they should make sure they have taken their stand after very careful consideration".

The JD(U), however, has not budged from its line. Party leader Shivanand Tiwari said, "Our stand remains the same. We stand for a secular leadership."

Any greater role for the Gujarat strongman will also be watched closely by senior party leaders like Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and LK Advani. A rise in Modi's clout may dampen the hold of this lot within the party. But most significantly, it may also permanently close doors for regional leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik and Mayawati, to consider doing any business with the NDA in future.

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