India’s opposition party BJP is likely to announce within 24 hours that Narendra Modi will be its candidate for prime minister despite taut opposition from the party’s senior-most leader LK Advani, NDTV reported citing sources.
“Nobody is angry or protesting,” said BJP president Rajanth Singh, adding that Modi’s political future will be decided “after talks”.
He met with Advani again Thursday morning, after a round of negotiations Wednesday cancelled any hope of consensus.
Advani, sources say, told the BJP president that an announcement of Modi as the BJP’s presumptive prime minister will be a “disaster” and could deliver a third straight defeat for the party in the national elections, due by May, said the report.
The BJP’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS, believes that Modi’s surging popularity among party workers could echo among voters, and wants Modi’s candidature to be announced urgently, the report said.
The conundrum for Singh as president is whether to proceed now with a meeting of the BJP’s top 12 leaders or parliamentary board for a vote on Modi.
Advani, 85, has allegedly said he will vote against the Gujarat Chief Minister; Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj could echo his dissent, said sources, laying bare the fissures that Modi has etched within the BJP.
Advani has been trafficking in dissent against Modi, once his protege, for several months.
He resigned from all party posts for 24 hours after Modi was picked campaign-in-charge; the RSS persuaded him to return to the fold.
Advani claims that a campaign pivoted around Modi will force the BJP to focus its campaign on defending the chief minister, who is regularly excoriated by other parties for being a divisive leader on account of the riots in his state in 2002, in which hundreds of Muslims were killed.