'Invisible' Modi dominates BJP brainstorming meet

Although Gujarat Chief Minister and firebrand BJP leader Narendra Modi did not attend the two-day long ‘chintan baitak’ (meeting) of the saffron party at Agra, nor were there his banners or posters, yet he dominated the discussion in one or the form.

Senior BJP leaders appeared to be sharply divided over Modi’s projection as a prime ministerial candidate, with some wanting the leadership to send a tough message to those (read Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar) spewing venom against Modi while others favouring a non-confrontationist approach.

“Nitish Kumar should keep within limits and not try to interfere in the internal matters of the BJP,” said senior BJP leader Kalraj Mishra, reacting to Nitish’s reported opposition to Modi being projected the saffron party’s prime ministerial candidate.

“Nitish Kumar is a senior leader...he should know how a party deals with these things...by repeatedly talking about Modi, Kumar is encroaching upon the BJP territory,” Mishra said.

“It appears Kumar is scared of Modi'', he said, adding that it could be a ‘strategy’ of Nitish.

BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, however, chose to play safe. “The issue of prime minister will be decided after the elections...we will discuss with our partners in the NDA and take a decision,” Gadkari said.

More divisions

Senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh had said on Sunday that the prime minister would be from the BJP if the NDA formed the government even if the party did not get a clear majority, but Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, another senior leader, said that the prime minister would from the NDA.

Although Modi dominated the discussions, his pictures were not there on the posters and banners that adorned the meeting venue, on specific instructions, according to party sources.

The two-day meeting of the BJP concluded on Monday with emphasis on expanding the party organisation in Uttar Pradesh to increase its support base.

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