BJP meet to discuss LS poll, but not PM issue

SHEKHAR IYER/HT, NEW DELHI | 03 June 2013 09:38 IST

All issues relating to the next Lok Sabha elections - ranging from the dastardly naxal attack in Chattisgarh to the worrisome economy -- will dominate the two-day session of BJP top leaders in Goa from June 8.

But the million dollar question as to who should be BJP's prime ministerial candidate will remain elusive due to absence of proper chemistry among the senior leaders.

BJP patriarch LK Advani's latest salvo against Gujarat CM Narendra Modi  - by comparing him with Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and describing the latter's achievement as more important that his - has added fuel to the debate.

Though Modi is popular among BJP cadres and seen as the "natural choice" by many for the top slot, some seniors are equally determined that he does not get a headstart, party insiders say.

Those backing Modi think that there is no point in confrontation within the party now when BJP's energies will have to be channelised to fight the Congress in the Hindi heartland, particularly in Uttar Pradesh.

"There are several unresolved issues like Delhi unit that need to be addressed before the PM issue can be taken up," said a BJP insider.

A ticklish issue is what role former chief Nitin Gadkari should play, considering the fact that the UPA government has not slammed any charges against him despite highly publicised raids into his formerly held Purti Group, which cost his job.

Ironically, backing Gadkari are Advani and other leaders who had wanted him to quit in January. They now think that they were "mislead" into believing about his role in the financial deals.

Gadkari still enjoys the support of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat who believes he was a "victim" of a conspiracy to deny him a second term as BJP president.

Bhagwat favours his early "rehabilitation" and won't view kindly attempts to block him, BJP sources said.

Advani wants Gadkari to take charge of "management"  of the elections in Delhi, MP, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh. 

Gadkari says he won't lobby for any position while others including Rajnath Singh want to avoid any "confusing" signals to go when the cadres want to hear Modi's name as heading a campaign panel for the Lok Sabha polls.

Since it's his first national executive after his inclusion into the BJP parliamentary board,  a lot of attention will be on Modi's ideas to beat the Congress.  Attention is on states like UP where Modi's confidant Amit Shah has taken charge.

The BJP national executive will see a lot of hammering of the UPA's nine years rule, adopting at least two resolutions.

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