New Delhi: The declaration of Narendra Modi as BJP`s prime ministerial candidate on Friday created euphoria among the rank and file but party patriarch LK Advani played a spoilsport which soured the mood of the cadre.
Out of power for nearly ten years, the mood was one of celebration in BJP. While crackers and drums are customary in the BJP headquarters at Ashoka Road here whenever an announcement of a assembly election victory or appointment of some leader to a key post is made, the enthusiasm seen today has not been witnessed in recent years.
Chants of "Modi, Modi", "Jai Shri Ram", and "Hamara neta kaisa ho, Narendra Modi jaisa ho" rent the air.
Most of all, the second rung of BJP central leadership had a big smile on their faces and many expressed satisfaction that the anointment has finally been done.
Even the seniormost leaders clamoured to stand behind Modi so that they are seen on the media.
Modi`s gesture of touching the feet of Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi also won him admirers. The two leaders were opposed to the declaration of his name as PM candidate before the assembly elections to Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi.
However, Advani`s decision to skip the Parliamentary Board meeting spoiled the party to some degree for Modi and the top brass.
Modi did his bit by eulogising Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani for building the party through the years. He later visited the two leaders to seek their blessings.
Asked about Advani not attending the Parliamentary Board meeting, BJP General Secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy said "he is a father figure to us. He is a guardian who has shaped the party. We would have been happy had he been a part of it."
"Hope Advani comes through to see that Modi succeeds as a Prime Minister. We will never fail to seek his blessings," Rudy said.
Rudy and others credited BJP President Rajnath Singh with building a consensus on Modi`s name and succeeding in ensuring that the Parliamentary Board takes an unanimous decision.
"This would be a new era in the history of BJP and we are very sure that Modi will carry on the legacy left behind by Vajpayee to restore the economic and national pride of the nation," Rudy said.
Asked how the decision was taken, party general secretary Thawarchand Gehlot said a resolution was moved to make Modi the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP and was accepted unanimously by the Parliamentary Board.
"Members of the Board did express their views and then a decision was taken with unanimity," he said.
The party is abuzz with who will replace Modi as head of the BJP Election Campaign Committee as he cannot lead his own campaign. The post may go to Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley. He had held this responsibility in the 2009 polls.
"These issues will come up for discussion next week," a party leader said.
Meanwhile, Modi is expected to make more frequent trips to Delhi and get a firmer grip on the party`s campaign in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.
His rallies across the country will also be watched with new interest.