Zee Media Bureau
Panaji: A clearly divided Bharatiya Janata Party could not take any decision on making Narendra Modi as campaign committee chief for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections at the ongoing National Executive meeting here on Saturday.
The decision, which was to be taken in a meeting of party leaders Friday, was however put off after strong resistance from senior party leader LK Advani and his camp.
The BJP was in a dilemma over appointing Narendra Modi as poll panel chief in the absence of senior party leader, LK Advani, and few others heavyweights, who have not turned up for the BJP’s meeting here as they are said to be opposed to such a move.
The BJP veteran Advani reportedly ill, skipped the BJP National Executive meet, for the first time in his entire political career, casting a long shadow on Modi`s prime ministerial aspirations.
The party was at pains to explain the absence of 85-year-old Advani, with a spokesperson insisting that his "health is really bad".
However, reports suggest that the BJP is keen to make a big announcement about Modi on the third and the last day of the National Executive meet tomorrow and the RSS has also given its go-ahead to it, but Advani and his camp, comprising leaders like Uma Bharti, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Yogi Adityananth, are playing spoilsport and hurting party’s image.
“Currently, Narendra Modi is a member of BJP Parliamentary Board an no decision has been taken yet to make him the poll panel chief,” BJP national spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
During a press conference here, she said, “If party wants to give Modi any other role, it will be announced to the media.”
While condemning the protests outside party patriarch LK Advani`s house earlier today Sitharaman added that no BJP cadre was involved in the demonstration. Advani is staying away from BJP`s National Executive meet in Goa citing health reasons.
Modi, who arrived in confidence at the three-day conclave and had a string of leaders clamouring to anoint him as the party`s prime ministerial candidate for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, now has until Sunday to swing the tide to his favour as BJP leaders continue to indicate towards a "big announcement" to be made by the end of the meet.
Party President Rajnath Singh, who has appeared to be on Modi`s side, in his inaugural address to the meet said all would go home "happy and enthusiastic". This could be interpreted as an indication towards a major announcement, even as the BJP leaders remain tight lipped on record.
Insiders suggested that BJP president Rajnath Singh had offered Modi a compromise formula where the latter would be appointed as the convenor of the campaign committee for the general elections.
Modi is, however, learnt to have rejected the offer for now.
Sources also say leaders of party`s parliamentary board will have an informal meeting late Saturday to decide on the issue.
Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman toed the party line, saying Advani was being briefed about all the developments.
"Rajnathji has talked to Advaniji yesterday and today. He is being briefed about all developments here," Sitharaman said.
Claiming that during the NDA regime, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had successfully run an alliance of 23 parties, the BJP leader said, “Appeasement politics is never going to benefit the country.”
BJP blames Congress for Maoism, terrorism
Condemnation of the recent rebel attack on a Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh reflected strongly in a resolution on security passed today by the BJP`s national executive here, as the party blamed the Congress for the escalating Maoism and terrorism.
Nirmala Sitharaman, while conveying details of the resolution to the media, indirectly also blamed the Congress for last month`s attack on its own leaders in Chhattisgarh.
"We have condemned the Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh. The NIA probe has now raised suspicion on the Congress leaders, saying some of them were talking on phone with the Maoists. What do we need to say," Sitharaman said.
She also said that the Congress-led government at the centre at present and previous Congress governments were to be blamed for not being able to arrest the menace of terrorism and Maoism in the country.
"The BJP has a multi-pronged strategy, spread over 10 years. If we come to power, we will fight these problems," she said.
The resolution on "security and self-pride" passed by the party blamed the Congress for giving communal tone to the issue of terrorism.
"Our fight against terrorism is not a fight against any religion, but the Congress has tried to make the issue communal, trying to appease one community," Sitharaman said.
With IANS inputs