Advani’s role to be decided only after consulting him, says Rajnath
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said here that she was not upset with the party as some media reports suggested. Swaraj, who arrived here amid reports that she was sulking, told reporters that ‘it is not true that I am annoyed or the party leaders are mollifying me on any issue.’
BJP president Rajnath Singh and senior leader Nitin Gadkari visited Swaraj at her residence in Delhi earlier in the day, leading to the speculation that she was not happy with the party over talks of government formation and her possible role as exit polls have predicted a clear majority for NDA.
She told reporters that it was only a courtesy call by Gadkari and Singh.
Swaraj contested the Lok Sabha election from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh this time where she had won in 2009 with a big margin.
With exit polls projecting victory for NDA, Rajnath Singh said top party leaders will meet and decide the roles of the veterans including LK Advani after consulting them.
‘As far as the roles of veteran leaders are concerned, I will call a party meeting to which they will be invited. After thorough discussions with all big leaders, we will decide what role will be played by which person,’ Singh told reporters at Ahmedabad airport on his way to Gandhinagar for a meeting with party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
He was asked what role Advani would be assigned after NDA is voted to power.
Advani, who was deputy Prime Minister in the previous NDA government, with his vast experience and stature was reportedly not keen on a role in a government headed by Modi, once considered his protege.
There were talks of Advani being offered the post of NDA parliamentary party leader or Speaker of the next Lok Sabha.
The party will also have to decide on the part to be played by another veteran Murli Manohar Joshi, a former BJP president, who was reportedly unhappy when he was shifted from Varanasi to Kanpur to pave the way for Modi to contest the seat.
Though Singh remained tightlipped about the agenda of their meeting with Modi, issues like formation of the next government and tasks to be assigned to seniors like Advani, Joshi and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj were possibly discussed.
‘We will sit and decide the agenda. But one thing is confirmed that Narendrabhai Modi is going to become the next Prime Minister of this country,’ Singh said when asked about the agenda of their meeting.
The BJP chief sought to make light of today’s meeting with Modi, saying it was just to share ‘experiences of the election campaign’.
‘We frequently keep meeting in Delhi. If he (Modi) were to come to Delhi, naturally the whole day would have been lost. We had telephonic conversation and I said a long talk is not possible on telephone. So, let’s sit together for a while and share our experience on the election campaign.’ Singh said.
He was also reticent about Modi’s successor in Gujarat after he moves to Delhi. ‘You will get to know,’ he said when asked who would step into Modi’s shoes if he becomes PM.