The move to announce Narendra Modi as Bharatiya Janata Party’s choice for Prime Minister for 2014 has once again exposed the divide in the party with a powerful section, which includes L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi, weighing in favour of delaying the decision.
In fact, matters seem to be getting more complicated with suggestions being floated that Modi should resign as Gujarat CM if he has to be named the PM candidate. Sources said this proposal has been mooted by the supporters of the section that is against “immediate announcement” of the PM candidate.
However, a large part of the BJP and the RSS, including president Rajnath Singh, M Venkaiah Naidu and RSS pointsperson Ramlal want the announcement to be made as early as next month, just after the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
These differing views have remained unresolved despite quiet efforts to find a way out. Related: RSS forces Advani to toe BJP line on Modi
The supporting view is that the BJP has always looked to announce its candidate well in advance unlike the Congress.
This, sources said, is necessary to build a sustained campaign around Modi, especially because the party has to establish him as a national leader in a short time, which was not the case with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani as they had never been active in state politics.
The counter argument, however, is that the first focus of the BJP should be on the upcoming Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Rajasthan. These elections, according to those against announcing Modi’s name now, need to be fought on local issues than be turned into a prelude to the General Elections by projecting Modi right away.