Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appointed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the head of the election committee, the big question being asked is: will the saffron poster boy be able to bring the main opposition party back to power in 2014 General Elections.
Amid dissent and differences within, the BJP leadership at its national executive meet in Goa gave Modi the charge to lead the party into the 2014 Lok Sabha battle, marking the end of the era of the party`s ageing patriarchs.
The BJP announced in Panaji that the Modi had been named chairman of the election management committee for the Lok Sabha polls, virtually ensuring that the Gujarat CM, 62, will call the shots in the run up to the General Elections.
Modi’s elevation also means for him that he is one of the top contenders for being party’s prime ministerial candidate in 2014.
As the chief minister of Gujarat, Modi has proved his political mettle winning the state for three consecutive terms.
Announcing Modi’s elevation as BJP’s poll panel chief, party president Rajnath said, “The country is looking up to the BJP. We need to get prepared for the elections and Modi is the most appropriate person to lead the party to the elections…he is the most popular chief minister.”
Singh noted that the decision was taken on the basis of consensus, in the wake of speculation that several senior party leaders, including LK Advani, were not happy with Modi’s elevation. Advani skipped the national executive meet for the first time in his political career, citing health reasons.
Reportedly, Advani had offered a compromise formula, suggesting that Modi be appointed as the convenor and not the chairman of the poll panel. However, the suggestions were kept aside in the wake of strong voices of support for the Gujarat CM from within the party.
Advani was backed by several other senior leaders like Yashwant Sinha, Uma Bharti and Jaswant Singh, who also chose to remain absent from the meeting.
After his anointment, Modi vowed at a workers’ rally to work for a Congress `mukt` Bharat.
"A country cannot function like this. Manmohan Singh is powerless before Sonia Gandhi. Both are leading India to peril. We have to work towards ensuring a Congress mukt Bharat," Modi said.
Modi`s elevation puts him in the same league as the party`s other mega leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani, whose stamp was all over the BJP campaigns in the 2004 and 2009 polls which the party lost.
The quantum political leap makes Modi`s political pedigree several notches higher since he was first asked by the party to take over as the Gujarat CM in 2001.