Power play on between Modi and Swaraj

Party has become like TV show Bigg Boss, says senior BJP leader

Power play on between Modi and Swaraj

Senior leaders in the BJP are in constant efforts to edge out one another from centrestage, even after Maharashtra state BJP leader Nitin Gadkari assumed party presidentship against the wishes of Central BJP bosses — Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar.

“The party has become like the popular television show Bigg Boss where residents in the house want others to make a quick exit so that he or she could stay there till the end to be a winner,” quipped a senior party leader and a national executive member.

Modi who has made a clean sweep in the recent local Gujarat elections is being again seen as an emerging a powerful leader, capable of staking his claim for leadership in the post-Advani phase. Swaraj’s comment this week that the “magic of Modi is unlikely to work in Bihar elections” is seen here as an attempt to cut Gujarat chief minister down to size after his latest winning spree in Gujarat.

Modi was also kept out of the Bihar elections by the party, apparently at the behest of ally, JD (U).

Swaraj is to step into the shoes of Advani if she has the support of the RSS and remains unchallenged from Modi, Jaitley or any other challenger to “the throne.”
The senior BJP leaders and chief ministers are waiting for the situation to crystallise before they could announce their loyalties.

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is seen to be cosying up to Modi whose “development model” he wanted to adopt for Karnataka.

It is thus not without reason that Swaraj was in the past quoted as saying that “Madhya Pradesh development model” should be followed (rather than that of Gujarat) by other state governments. She  had, however, clarified later that her preference for Madhya Pradesh was on account of her being an MP from the state.

According to party sources, Swaraj’s comment, undermining the popularity of Modi, has created ripples in the party. Senior leader L K Advani, who contests Lok Sabha polls from Gujarat, has been effusive in his praise of Modi’s electoral success in the state. In the current phase of coalition politics, Swaraj would be more acceptable to the BJP allies than Modi, who is also working hard on his “developmental-liberal-image”. Hiring of cine star Amitabh Bachchan was one of  those “image-building exercises,” sources said.

It is understood that Modi would soon galvanise his cadre-base and give his riposte to Swaraj. Yeddyurappa’s public congratulations to Modi for his massive win in local polls is part of the emerging  tug-of-war in the saffron parivar. What is to be now seen is who will win this big boss contest.

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