Advani yet to give assurance on Modi for PM

Advani yet to give assurance on Modi for PM

 L K Advani today appeared to be a stumbling block for the BJP in finalising the name of Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate and hectic efforts were underway to convince him to give up his opposition.

BJP President Rajnath Singh had a 30-minute meeting with Advani to persuade him on Modi's candidature but failed to get an assurance, sources said.

His predecessor Nitin Gadkari had met Advani yesterday as an emissary of the RSS for the same purpose but reportedly went back empty-handed. Gadkari left for Nagpur, where the RSS headquarters are located, to brief the Sangh founthead on the developments.

There are reports that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat may meet Modi in Gandhinagar tomorrow to discuss this issue. RSS has categorically said there is no dispute over Modi's name but the timing of the announcement has to be decided by the BJP.

Meanwhile, General Secretary (Organisation) Ramlal- who is the RSS pointsman in BJP- has been given the task of finding a suitable date before September 19 when the Parliamentary Board members are in the capital so that a meeting can be held.
Other than Advani, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi are also opposed to announcing Modi as the PM candidate before the forthcoming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi.

"A decision on the issue will be taken by the Parliamentary Board with as much consensus as possible," BJP spokesperson Sudanshu Trivedi told reporters in reply to a question on whether all members are on board on Modi.

He denied reports that the panel may meet on September 13 and said no formal decision on a date has been taken yet.

Those opposed to Modi, however, maintain that had there been a consensus on his name the Parliamentary Board would have been called at a short notice.
"Looking for consensus date is a facade. Parliamentary Board meetings have been called even at a few hours notice," a senior leader said.

BJP denied that Advani or any other leader is opposed to Modi and that this is causing a delay in convening the Parliamentary Board meeting.

"There is no opposition of any leader of the party to any other leader nor is there any competition for oneupmanship," Trivedi said.

Party sources claimed Rajnath Singh is keen that Modi's name is announced in an unanimous decision as is the norm in the BJP for crucial issues.

RSS and BJP top brass feel any delay in announcing Modi's candidature will not do any good to the party's prospects in the Lok Sabha elections. His supporters in the top echelons feel the announcement would pave the way for starting the process of election campaigning and strategising.

Efforts are on to make the announcement before September 19 when the inauspicious 'Pitripaksh' period, lasting a fortnight, begins. Moreover, the election dates for the four states are likely to be announced on September 22 after which it would difficult to declare Modi's name, sources said.

September 16 is being seen as a possible date for holding the Parliamentary Board meeting as the panel members are expected to be in the capital on that day.

The Modi camp maintains that an announcement may be made even if Advani, Swaraj and Joshi are not in agreement on his candidature as the RSS has given its go-ahead.

However, there are apprehensions that if the decision is taken with Advani's nod he may embarrass the party by going public with his disapproval. He had resigned from all party posts when Modi was annointed the Election Campaign Committee chief in Goa earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Singh met Murli Manohar Joshi to discuss the issue of declaring Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate.

Emerging from an hour-long meeting, Singh said he discussed with Joshi the election manifesto and strategy for the polls.

Singh had called up Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj earlier to discuss this issue.

Singh is trying to build a consensus on Modi's name. Along with Advani, Joshi and Swaraj are also opposed to declaring Modi as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate before assembly elections to four states.

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