Atal-Advani era ends as Narendra Modi appointed head of BJP poll panel   1 comment

The BJP leadership on Sunday appointed Narendra Modi as the chairman of its national election committee in a significant step towards complete compliance with the pressure from the cadre to declare the Gujarat CM the saffron candidate for prime ministership.

The decision came in the face of resistance ofparty stalwart L K Advani and marks Modi’s emergence as BJP’s pre-eminent leader at the expense of the former deputy PM and many others. Besides taking the party out of the long and still-lingering shadow of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani and enshrining the role of cadre pressure as a major factor in Sangh Parivar’s decision-making, the big boost for Modi also heralds his rise as principal challenger to the Congress — in fact the entire “secular” end of the political establishment.

Addressing party workers after the announcement of Modi’s elevation, BJP chief Rajnath Singh said that he could not have ignored the wishes of millions of party workers: an assertion that was read as a message to the old guard and Modi’s peers to come to terms with the inauguration of a new phase in BJP, where the Gujarat strongman will be playing the lead role, perhaps rivalling even the RSS’s infuence.

While briefing reporters on the elevation, Singh stressed that in his new role Modi would be overseeing party’s preparations for coming electoral challenges. “All political parties take elections as their biggest challenge and so do we. We will move ahead with the resolve of victory. Today I have appointed Gujarat CM Narendra Modi as chairman of the national election committee,” he said.

However, the suggestion that in his new avatar Modi would be only looking after the poll preparations did not take away from the estimate that the appointment is only a precursor towards leadership’s submission to the pressure from the saffron ranks to declare him the PM candidate for 2014 — the move as and when it is announced will force Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to quit NDA.

BJP sources said that the leadership — working in tandem with the RSS — wants Modi to lead the party into the 2014 polls, and there were enough pointers in public here on Sunday to back that assumption.

Addressing party workers, Singh said that he took the decision out of respect for sentiments of workers and “crores of sympathizers and others”. “Only the one who is popular can be a strong leader,” the BJP chief said amid slogans from “Desh ka neta kaisa ho, Narendra Modi Jaisa ho” slogans from the cadre drawn from districts.

Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley also said that the development is a step towards meeting country’s aspiration for “someone who can take strong decisions and can lead”.

Modi himself quickly warmed up to the new assignment, while happily signaling his readiness to play the role that seems to be around the corner. “Well begun is half won,” he said taking off on the popular saying Jaitley had cited: an improvisation which many saw as significant in the light of the overwhelming estimate that the announcement on Sunday is just a stepping stone for his projection as PM.

The saffron strongman stressed that he had looked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the eye to question UPA’s handling of the Maoist challenge, and declared that he would perform his new responsibility in the same “strong and magnificent way” with which he has worked for Gujarat’s development.

The boisterous celebrations of the elevation by cadre contrasted starkly with the sulks of senior party leaders. Some of the unhappy colleagues chose to disguise their sullenness, but Advani stayed away from the national executive amid signs of his unhappiness with the big leg-up for Modi.

Although an unprecedented event considering the unflinching regularity with which former deputy PM would attend party meets, his absence did not deter the leadership from acquiescing into the clamour from the cadre for Modi to be anointed as the party’s spearhead for the 2014 battle.

Singh tried to downplay the tell-tale signs of rift, and insisted that the decision was “unanimous”. But there were enough indications to suggest that the leadership, goaded by the pressure from the grassroots, had shoved aside the opposition from Advani and his dwindling group of supporters. Jaitley said that Modi’s appointment was backed by “overwhelming consensus” and praised Singh for acting courageously.

In a conspicuous departure from the routine, none of the speakers mentioned Advani. Modi expressed his gratitude to seniors who mentored him, but refrained from naming names. The omission of Advani from the proceedings looked even glaring against the backdrop of slogans and drumbeats celebrating leadership’s embrace of cadre’s hope that Modi would be the new talisman delivering them next year the trophy which Advani had failed to bag in 2009.


Posted June 9, 2013 by avinash2060 in Battle for 7 RCR

One response to “Atal-Advani era ends as Narendra Modi appointed head of BJP poll panel

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  1. Pingback: Elections 2014: Will Modi be a game-changer for BJP? | sambhalkezabaan

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