BJP, RSS stamped on Narendra Modi elevation before Goa meeting

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Smarting under the setback last weekend at Goa where they could not thwart the elevation of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, the supporters of L K Advani have focused their ire on Suresh Soni and Ram Lal. However, while the two RSS functionaries, indeed, played a crucial role in removing the hurdles to the way of Modi’s appointment as the chairman of the national campaign committee, they were merely implementing the decision taken by the RSS leadership.

Sources in the BJP and the RSS confirm that the leadership of the two organizations have decided to hand over to Modi the reins of the party’s campaign before the saffron contingent reached Panaji — the venue of the crucial national executive meet that spelt the demise of the Vajpayee-Advani era while clearing the way for Modi’s ascendancy. BJP chief Rajnath Singh had conveyed to the RSS leadership his assessment about Modi being the overwhelming favourite of the rank and file, as well of the need to cast the Gujarat leader in the lead role ahead of 2014 polls.
Sources also said RSS chief Mohanrao Bhagwat immediately concurred, clearing the way for Soni, joint general secretary of RSS, and Ram Lal, a RSS pracharak who is on loan to the BJP and functioning as one of the general secretaries of the party, to work in tandem with BJP office-bearers to frustrate the anti-Modi lobby.

Soni, widely respected in the Sangh Parivar circles for his ideological clarity, has attracted the anger of the Advani faction for persuading the BJP chief not to heed any “veto” that the veteran was seeking to impose on the appointment of office-bearers. He stuck to his guns even in Goa in the face of Advani’s protest against the boost for Modi.

In fact, all the office-bearers linked closely to Sangh worked overtime for Modi, putting an end to the effort of those who had argued that the decision on the Gujarat strongman could not be taken in Advani’s absence. The bunch included general secretaries Ram Lal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Jagat P Nadda, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Modi’s confidant Amit Shah. According to sources, Gehlot was so irked by attempts to block the Gujarat CM that he argued that the Modi be declared the PM candidate at Goa itself.

Joint general secretaries, V Satish and Saudan Singh, who are again closely linked to RSS, were part of the team.

Apart from office-bearers, Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, and Goa CM minister Manohar Parrikar were also crucial for the effort for Modi. Jaitley who has been talking to important leaders from states, organized Modi’s meetings with chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Raman Singh, Bihar deputy CM Sushil Modi and Rajasthan leader Vasundhara Raje. The separate conversations ensured that ranks of opponents remained limited to only a couple of leaders. In fact, one of the key supporters of Advani termed Jaitley as the “real villain of the piece”.

Parrikar set the pro-Modi tone by calling the Gujarat CM as the most popular party leader in the meeting of office-bearers last Friday and, again, by taunting the leadership for suffering from “political paralysis” when doubts started swirling that the leadership could allow itself to be persuaded to defer the announcement on Modi out of “respect for Advani”.

Courtesy : TOI