Millennium Post

Rajnath Singh hardsells Modi in America

BJP president Rajnath Singh, currently on a visit to the United States of America, virtually anointed Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate on Saturday. He was speaking at a press conference in New York.

‘Seven months before the elections, I have nominated Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as chairman of the party’s election campaign committee. What is unusual in that? We have nominated Modi like other parties do and why read between lines. I have named him as campaign head in view of his image, popularity and commitment to the party,’ said Singh at a media briefing in New York.

The BJP president is on a five-day trip to New York and Washington.
Giving all indications that it could be Modi who will lead the party in the 2014 general elections, Singh said the Gujarat chief minister is certainly the most popular and tallest leader of India now. ‘He is a crowdpuller not only in Gujarat but also in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from North to South, East to West. He is one single leader with a national appeal and his popularity will help the party in the elections,’ said Singh.

The BJP president also made it clear that he is not one of the contenders for the top job. ‘It’s not necessary that party president should also be a crowd puller and a prime ministerial candidate. I have an assignment to do for my party. I have a job to deliver - that is victory of the party in the 2014 elections,’ said Singh. The BJP president also claimed that the party will get more allies as the election draws closer. ‘Despite a clear majority in sight, we want our allies to participate in the government at the Centre.

Now we have Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal as allies. We may get some more closer to the elections. There is also a possibility of post-poll alliance with like-minded parties if there is a need,’ said Singh.

In a clear sign that Ram Mandir will not be a major election issue, Singh downplayed the matter and said that the election will be fought on developmental issues. ‘Ram temple was not a major poll issue anytime. It was at best a national issue but not an election issue,’ said the BJP president.

On the recent debacle of the party in Karnataka and setbacks in other states, the BJP president said assembly elections and municipal polls are different from parliament elections where people vote for a stable government.
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