STATE TIMES NEWS
NEW DELHI: Former Finance Minister and a senior Bharatya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha on Monday asked the party High Command to declare Narendra Modi as its candidate for Prime Minister in 2014 elections.
“People and ordinary party workers have been demanding that the BJP should present Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. It is my opinion that if the BJP declares Modi as its candidate for PM then it will benefit the party enormously in the elections. I have no doubt that it will have a great impact on the voters,” said Sinha.
He, however, hastened to add that this was a personal view and that the decision would be taken by the party leadership.
The suggestion by the BJP stalwart evoked immediate reaction from Congress and Janata Dal (United), which is seen against the nomination of Modi as prime ministerial candidate.
Congress reacted sharply with Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge saying that the Gujarat Chief Minister is not fit to be a Prime Ministerial candidate as he was good enough only for Gujarat.
Speaking to media persons at his residence here, he claimed Modi was popular only in Gujarat. The country’s people would reject him for his views, he alleged.
‘These type of leaders will be confined to their region only, they can’t become national leaders.
‘Modi himself is facing trouble in his party and the party is not announcing him as Prime Ministerial candidate.
Political pundits are reading between the lines. Sinha, not seen as pro-Modi, has not just made an attempt, they say, to throw his weight behind the leader whose star is on an ascent in the BJP, but he has also backed the one man who can keep the Rashtriya Swayamwevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s powerful ideological mentor, at bay. The RSS appropriates much say in the party’s affairs, much to the chagrin of many senior BJP leaders. The Sangh supports Modi, but has also been wary of his surging ambition post some spectacular electoral performances.
The development comes in the wake of BJP president Rajnath Singh meeting Modi for two hours in Delhi yesterday. Both the leaders told waiting media that they discussed, among other things, the Lok Sabha elections.
Singh said he would discuss a “bigger role” for Modi in the run-up to the elections with other leaders of the party while the Gujarat Chief Minister indicated that he was ready for that bigger role.
The BJP and the RSS have reportedly prepped a battle-plan that casts Modi as the head of party’s campaign committee for 2014 and an announcement is expected next month, sources have said. But they have been loath to declare him its candidate for PM just yet, despite a growing clamour within. For one, there are other aspirants in the party. And also because Modi is not universally acceptable in that role to its political partners in the National Democratic Alliance like the Janata Dal (United).Soon after Sinha made his Modi comments, senior JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said, These are personal views expressed by Sinha. Let BJP first decide on a name and let that be endorsed by the NDA.”
Sinha said about the JD(U) stand, “The JD-U is an independent party like the BJP, it is free to take its decisions. But it’s wrong to target one individual.”