Meets BJP president Rajnath Singh and senior leader L K Advani

Call it a coincidence or stroke of luck for Narendra Modi.

Hours after he arrived here on Wednesday to attend the Chief Ministers’ conference on internal security, came the news of the BJP’s clean sweep of all six by-elections (including for two Lok Sabha seats) in his State. This result has given him an edge over his detractors within the party vis-à-vis the ongoing power struggle ahead of the 2014 general elections.

The master strategist-cum-political marketing guru took full advantage of the situation.

He dashed into Lutyens’ Delhi, flashing victory signs and making assertive statements on the scale of defeat of the Congress, following it up with a one-on-one meeting first with BJP president Rajnath Singh and then with senior leader L K Advani, who has been working behind the scenes to forestall the chances of the party leadership handing over to the Gujarat strongman the baton of the BJP’s campaign committee for the Assembly elections in five States scheduled for year-end.

The issue has acquired a sense of urgency as the BJP national executive is meeting in Goa on Saturday and Sunday to evolve an election strategy and possibly take a call on who is the best person to take charge of the campaign committee.

But even after the meeting between the BJP president and Mr. Modi at the former’s residence, there is no clarity on whether or not the party would consider having separate management committees for the Assembly and general elections.

Also, for several weeks now, top leaders have been engaged in shadow boxing over whether the party should have a prime ministerial face, and if so who, and with or without the consent of the NDA partners.

Ever since Mr. Modi, after securing victory in the Gujarat Assembly elections for the third successive term, made known his strong desire to play a bigger role at the national level, some senior BJP leaders, who themselves are nursing prime ministerial ambitions, have been working on their respective strategies to keep him out of the race.

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