RSS, BJP reach pact on Narendra Modi as PM candidate

NDA ahead of UPA, Modi top choice as PM SurveyNEW DELHI : On a day when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Rahul Gandhi will be the ideal candidate for Prime Minister in 2014, Sangh Parivar leaders are pressing ahead with their plan to declare Gujarat CM Narendra Modi their PM nominee any time after Monday.

BJP president Rajnath Singh, who has decided not to be hindered any more by continuing opposition to Modi by a couple of bigwigs, reached an understanding on the issue with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Saturday evening.

As per the road map worked out in the late evening discussions, an announcement can come soon after conclusion of a two-day RSS-BJP co-ordination meeting here on Monday.

Coming on the eve of the saffron meet, the talks on Saturday evening were intended to shape the agenda for confabulations where the majority view favouring early anointment of Modi is expected to be clearly outlined and impressed upon BJP leaders those like party veteran LK Advani and leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj. Both Advani and Swaraj have so far been reluctant to relax their reservations about declaring Modi as BJP’s PM choice at this stage.

The RSS-BJP leaders had last deliberated the issue in August but failed to bring the holdouts around. Parleys with individual leaders, like Rajnath and his immediate predecessor Nitin Gadkari’s discussions with another party senior Murli Manohar Joshi, also could not make headway.

Sources said Rajnath, who conveyed his readiness to make an announcement on Modi to the RSS chief, is determined to clinch the issue at the two-day meeting in order to clear the way for an announcement soon after. The party is keen to dodge the fortnight-long inauspicious Hindu period of pitripaksha which begins on September 20 and has, hence, set the December 19 deadline for the purpose.

“Frankly speaking as to who should be their candidate is Congress’s internal matter and none of our business. But India’s experience of people who have not gone through the grind has not been encouraging. Those who got power on a platter, be it Rajiv Gandhi or Akhilesh Yadav and Omar Abdullah, have invariably frittered it away and voters are too wise to ignore that. They will support a leader who has already proven himself,” said a BJP leader.