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Modi inches closer as PM contender

Published Jun 10, 2013 08:22am


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India's Gujarat state Chief Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters following his arrival at the Dabolim airport at Vasco in Goa, June 7, 2013. — Photo by AFP
India's Gujarat state Chief Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters following his arrival at the Dabolim airport at Vasco in Goa, June 7, 2013. — Photo by AFP

NEW DELHI, June 9: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was on Sunday appointed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to lead what is expected to be a brazen rightwing campaign for the 2014 general elections brushing aside objections from a powerful coterie led by senior leader L.K. Advani.

The move is considered just short of making him the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in the race. The announcement came at the party’s Goa conclave despite opposition from coalition partners from the National Democratic Alliance, which was headed by former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Press Trust of India said.

“I want to give you a significant information. ...I have announced (at the National Executive) that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as Chairman of the BJP Election Campaign Committee, keeping in mind the challenge of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and to achieve victory in the polls,” party president Rajnath Singh told the media at the conclusion of its two-day deliberations.

The announcement was made in a terse statement by Mr Singh who was flanked by Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, former president M. Venkaiah Naidu, general secretary Ananth Kumar among others. No questions were taken at the media interaction.

“Whatever has happened has happened on the basis of consensus,” Mr Singh said without elaborating. The decision to appoint 63-year-old Modi came against the backdrop of Mr Advani, who is said to be strongly opposed to the elevation of Mr Modi, keeping away from the meeting.

The PTI said several other leaders, including Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Uma Bharati and Shatrughan Sinha, who are also reportedly having reservations on Mr Modi’s elevation, kept away from the executive meeting.

After two days of deliberations and dilemma, the party appears to have taken the plunge by plumping for Mr Modi in a crucial role, ignoring reservations from leaders like Mr Advani, seen as the tallest leader after Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Mr Singh said all parties view elections as a challenge and BJP also viewed the coming Lok Sabha elections as a challenge and Mr Modi’s elevation was done keeping in mind the need to achieve victory.

“We are absolutely sure that the Congress-led UPA government has lost the confidence of the people and are confident that the BJP will be voted to power in the 2014 elections,” he said.

Mr Modi, considered a polarising figure in the country’s politics after the 2002 post-Godhra riots which his detractors alleged had happened with his sanction as chief minister, said in a tweet that Advani had given his “blessings” to him after Singh’s announcement.

“Spoke to Advaniji on the phone. He gave me his blessings. Honoured and extremely grateful to receive his blessings.”

“Senior leaders have reposed faith in me. We will leave no stone unturned for Congress-mukht bharat nirman (building India free of Congress). Thanks for support and blessings,” he said in another tweet message.

Sunday’s decision of BJP could be seen as a gamble to perk up the party’s prospects after its defeat in two consecutive Lok Sabha elections.

Throughout the whole of Saturday, there was media speculation that the party could defer an announcement on Mr Modi. One version was that Mr Advani wanted that Mr Modi should be made head of the campaign for the assembly elections, including in states like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, later this year.Party sources said Mr Singh resolved the dilemma after it was felt the meeting should not conclude without a ‘result’ as it would lead to demoralisation of the cadre. Hence, the announcement was made, they said.

The announcement of Mr Modi’s elevation towards the end of Mr Singh’s valedictory address at the national executive session was received with cheers and standing ovation.

One of the delegates said there was clapping for five minutes as a signal of acceptance of the decision on Mr Modi.

Ms Swaraj declined to make any comments when reporters sought her reaction to Mr Singh’s announcement.


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Comments (26) Closed

Devil Jun 10, 2013 11:26am

Not just the contender ! He will be the PM !

Shubs Jun 10, 2013 11:32am

"to lead what is expected to be a brazen rightwing campaign for the 2014 general elections"

And what, dear "correspondent" are the specific items in BJP's manifesto that are "brazen rightwing"? Do they call for a fascist state? Do they call for unequal treatment to India's citizens based on religion, race, caste? Do they call for doing away with India's secular credentials? Do they call for militarization of the state beyond what the presumably "left leaning" Congress government is doing? Or is their economic policy "brazenly rightwing", even after the liberalization track record of the Congress led government?

One understands your compulsions in building stories for a newspaper with a primarily Pakistani readership. But the least you could do, as a journalist, is stick to the facts.

Sandeep Singh Jun 10, 2013 11:58am

East or West. Atal Ji Was The Best. NaMo is the Next. Who care For The Rest. Modi is the King. Naredndra Modi ZIndabad

Somnath Mishra Jun 10, 2013 01:42pm

Narendra Modi can never become Prime minister of India.. 90 % of indian Population is Truely secular. A leader who can take all section of society together , with secular credentials can only become Prime Minister of India. Congress Party has Secular credentials since independence of India. This is the reason why Congress Party has ruled this country for 56 years out of 66 years of democratic history of india. Narendra Modi and His brand of Politics will be rejected by People of India.

Somnath Mishra.

Marshwin Jun 10, 2013 01:52pm

Hafeez Saeed, Hamid Gul, Zaid Hamid should start counting backwards, common Pakistanis can expect great relationship for generations to come! NaMo is the the peoples leader.

Hitesh Jun 10, 2013 01:54pm

Appointment of Modi at the helm of BJP is going to herald new beginning of India post 1947. Finally India arrived at the stage. Let us hope and see what India has to offer to the World !

AJay Jun 10, 2013 02:10pm

Good news..

blister Jun 10, 2013 03:06pm

He may very well be the PM but I hope he has learnt how to bring people together because he certainly has learnt how to push them apart. I hope for Mr. Vajpayee's aman ke asha.

@somnath mishra - the 90% is also silent and therefore the 10% have a very good chance of coming over the 90%.

@Shubs:The sad state of affairs with governments in the asian countries is not what they preach but what they practice. This might be a Pakistani paper but from the comments in every blog an article the readership is atleast 50% Indian if not more. :)

Devil Jun 10, 2013 03:41pm

@Somnath Mishra: Congress has a very big spot of 1982 on its secular credentials ! Its massively larger if you compare it with 2002 of Modi.

Dip Jun 10, 2013 03:46pm

With Modi a new era will start in the Indian political history and as he will be elected as th next PM of India we wil see a great change tat wil take place in this great nation. Hail Mother India nd those who wil oppose this new change wil be considered as anti India nd wil b taken care of. We wil build a new army who wil purify th Indian society like th Nazis did in Germany. So friends lets start th war nd purification by electing NAMO.

Cuncolkar Jun 10, 2013 03:50pm

Narendra Modi is a Mauth Ka Saudagar. BJP is now BHARATIYA JUNK PARTY who has no leaders. Hope Congress capatilizes on this.

K G Surendran Jun 10, 2013 04:25pm

There is no doubt that India needs decisive and bold leadership at the Centre but Modi's brand of politics is hugely divisive not only within his own party but also among other NDA partners and possibly with voters across a number of states in India. The Congress should be jumping in joy with Modi's elevation, considering it is down in the dumps anyway, because a lot of the secular and minority vote will now consolidate behind the grand old party which otherwise may have gone to the various regional parties. Despite what his appointment heralds for the political landscape given India's electoral arithmetic it is difficult to fathom the BJP singularly getting anywhere near the 182 mark, which is the best they achieved under Vajpayee, given their near absence in a number of states in the Indian Union. For Modi it will be make or break and considering his record has only been tested in Gujarat can't see him repeating it in other states especially Uttar Pradesh, which has the maximum number of seats.

Avneesh K Singh Jun 10, 2013 04:54pm

@blister: then what Paki media has to do with Indian political news if some Indians can not react to this news according to your shallow mind?

SHAFIQ Jun 10, 2013 05:20pm

@Dip: It will be a great day for all those who wish India the worse possible fate. INDIA is a great country and will never submit to such dispicable infamy. I hope the loony fringe will continue its nefarious compaign to make decent Indians aware of the dangers lurking in the rightwing lurch. Shafiq

Kashmiri Jun 10, 2013 05:43pm

@Dip: you are a sick individual.

G Din Jun 10, 2013 06:12pm

@Somnath Mishra: "Narendra Modi and His brand of Politics will be rejected by People of India." That is out into the future. In the meanwhile look at the tally, howsoever unscientific, of what people think of your clairvoyance - 5-approve, 30 disapprove. What are your prognostications about that, Mishraji!

anony Jun 10, 2013 06:52pm

Howcome this Modi guy hasn't faced any charges for crimes against humanity. This waste of flesh and bones and a useless man is of no good at all. Down with Modi.I won't be surprised if I see more 'thumbs-down' for this post as almost all the readers here are indians anyways, in addition to staunch supporter of this useless man (Modi).

Shiv Mishra Jun 10, 2013 07:28pm

I beleive, Narendra Modi as PM is good news for common people of Pakistan. He is a development focused leader and a developed India is only good news for Pakistan (trade wise). Also he has the ability (read balls) and will have mandate to take tough decision to strengthen peace process. Also after 500 years of misrule, subcontinent will finally see a leader committed to bring back rule of law.

Srini Jun 10, 2013 08:17pm

@anony: Any meaning less comments will always get thumbs down, simple common sense

Annon Jun 10, 2013 08:46pm

Modi comes from a trading family and belongs to a trading state. If he becomes india's PM, he might prove good for fair trade with Pakistan where both countries can gain.

Kaly Jun 10, 2013 09:57pm

@Somnath Mishra: For people like you, corrupt leaders have looted the country in the name of pseudo secularism...

Sauron Jun 10, 2013 11:09pm

There are 2 kinds of people, normal people and 'Secular' people. -George Fernandes.

EQ8Rhomes Jun 11, 2013 08:45am

@anony: Your post reveals the following: You, sir, are not an Indian. You have sectarian gripes, as do Mr. Modi and his ilk, according to popular sentiment. Your opinion of Mr. Modi betrays and very deep-seated antipathy towards Indians that cannot be resolved, for your sake or anyone else's. Please calm down. All the terrible and horrible issues of the world are not just on your shoulders. Supporters of Modi are looking for a hard-charging saviour for India, which has been struggling for centuries under foreign invasion and rule. People find the current Indian PM "soft" and "too polite". They expect Mr. Modi to be assertive and bring his Gujrat success to all of India. In times of trouble, the masses tend to seek leaders who tend to be more action oriented than philosophical. On the other hand, now we see that Pakistan has elected a conciliatory PM, in Mr. Nawaz Sharif---after the hard-charging generals. It's people are tired of militancy and want economic growth and stability for peace.

Anidesh Jun 11, 2013 10:10am

There were many Hindu-Muslim riots in different part of country where Congress was ruling and many occurrence in recent years too. As far Gujrat is concerned there were no communal riots in Modi ruled Gujrat for past 11 years. So why some people hating this non- corrupted politician even after the Supreme Court of India and its investigating team declared him innocent. India is with you Modi. Go ahead. All the best for our future PM.

Somnath Mishra Jun 11, 2013 01:02pm

@G Din: Dear Friend , Number of approval and disapproval in the Newspaper doesn't reflect mood of the entire Population of india. I again say let 2014 election come , First BJP will not get Majority,; second even BJP emerges single largest Party , its allies like JD(U) of Bihar, Naveen Patnayak from Orissa, Mamta Banerjee from West Bengal , AIADMK from Tamil Nadu, these alliance Partners are not going to accept Narendra Modi as PM. Somnath Mishra

Ajay Vikram Singh Jun 11, 2013 03:54pm

Narendra Modi is the next leader of india. Most probably, he is going to be the most powerful and most popular prime minister india ever had. He has bigger wave than what Obama had in america in his first election. Unlike Imran khan, he has been a very successful chief minister and proven efficient administrator for long time. His personal integrity and honesty is beyond any shadow of doubt. even his critics accept that. In endless saga of greedy, corrupt, power-hungry politicians, he comes across as a true leader. his whole family still lives a very lower-middle class life, where he has been chief minister for past 10 years of one of the most prosperous province of india. his very presence give nightmares to the political status-quo in india. he is no-nonsense, nationalistic, strong and a visionary. He got the experience, organization, courage and vision to take india to super-power-dom that it deserves.