Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was on Friday appointed as Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, despite the most senior leader LK Advani`s opposition.
The formal announcement was made by BJP president Rajnath Singh after the parliamentary board meeting, which was attended by Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj, who too were said to be opposed to Modi`s project at this juncture, but finally toed the majority line.
Also Read: Modi as BJP’s PM candidate: How it unfolded
Rajnath Singh, who made the announcement after hectic back-to-back meetings, said the decision was "unanimous" and taken keeping in view the popular mood and aspirations.
He said it was done as per the party`s tradition where the Parliamentary Board, the highest decision-making body of the party, takes the decision.
Once Rajnath Singh made the announcement, BJP stalwarts, including those who were said to be against the announcement earlier, offered him garlands and bouquets.
Rajnath Singh and Modi hugged one another. Modi touched the feet of former president Murli Manohar Joshi as a mark of respect.
Accepting the party decision, Modi gave a slogan "nayi sonch, nayi ummeed" (new thinking, new hope) and said the BJP will go the 2014 polls with the plank of good governance and development while fighting against corruption and price rise.
Also Read: Modi pledges 2014 election victory
He said the country is going through a "crisis" and BJP would require blessings of people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Attock to Cuttack so that this situation ends.
"I promise that in the 2014 election, the BJP will emerge victorious," a confident sounding Modi said flanked by a galaxy of senior colleagues, the notable absentee being his former mentor Advani.
But like in June, when Advani had revolted against the BJP`s decision to name Modi its election campaign chief, the former party leader stayed away from the parliamentary board meeting to express his displeasure over the decision to make Modi the prime ministerial candidate.
Even before the Gujarat chief minister flew into New Delhi, there were hectic parleys within the BJP establishment, with Rajnath Singh holding a string of meetings to convince everyone to fall in line. And everyone did -- except Advani, formerly Modi`s mentor.
"For this, the party will work hard and we will leave no stone unturned," said Modi in a brief speech after accepting sweets, bouquets and garlands from senior and junior colleagues.
Also Read: Modi: From tea vendor to PM candidate
However, Advani touched a sour note by releasing an angry letter written by him to the party chief almost at the same time when announcement about Modi was made.
"This afternoon when you had come to my residence to inform me about the Parliamentary Board meeting, I had said something about my anguish as also my disappointment over your style of functioning," he said in the two-para letter.
"I had told you that I will think whether I should share my thoughts with other Board members or not. Now I have decided that it is better that I do not attend today`s meeting," he wrote.
Soon after the announcement, Modi met Advani to seek his blessings. During the 30-minute meeting, Advani obliged him but also asked him about the letter written by suspended IPS officer D G Vanzara who quit service while attacking Modi.
Advani was of the view that making Modi the Prime Ministerial candidate will put issues like price rise and corruption- on which the BJP has attacked the Congress- on the backburner and make the controversial leader the issue.
Joshi and Swaraj, who too were said to be having reservations to Modi`s projection at this juncture, changed their stand to join the majority.
The Congress spoke in different voices. While spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury called it "an internal affair" of BJP, Law Minister Kapil Sibal was sarcastic: "If BJP wants to celebrate an early Diwali, let them."
The Congress is unlikely to name a prime ministerial candidate though there is clamour within to pick Rahul Gandhi, the party vice president and son of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Modi, who once sold tea in a railway station in Gujarat, said it was a matter of pride that the BJP had catapulted him -- despite his origin from "a humble family" -- as the prime ministerial candidate.
In his four-minute speech in Hindi, Modi paid tributes to Vajpayee and Advani. In an attempt to buy peace, Modi later drove to Advani`s residence but details of what they discussed were not available.
With agencies inputs