Alarmed by the orchestrated ‘Modi-for-PM’ campaign within sections of the party and its repercussions on the constituents of the NDA, Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh has directed the rank and file to refrain from any statements on the prime ministerial choice in the 2014 general election.
At a news conference here on Monday, Mr. Singh said he was making a “final appeal” to his party leaders not to speak on the issue. The appeal came two days ahead of Mr. Modi’s visit here to address students of a college in the Delhi University.
“I want to humbly appeal to the BJP workers and leaders that there should be no statement from them on who will be the candidate for the Prime Minister's post. As I have said earlier, the party convention is that any decision on the chief ministerial or prime ministerial candidate is taken by the Central Parliamentary Board.”
“Whether to speak, who will speak or not speak, what he will say [on such an issue] is all decided by the Central Parliamentary Board. So if any question is asked by the media, then all leaders should say that a final decision will be taken by the Central Parliamentary Board,” Mr. Singh said.
The public directive by the BJP president indicates that repeated declarations at the highest levels that the Parliamentary Board alone was competent to take a call had failed to have its impact. Also, the silence of Mr. Modi is also adding to the discomfiture of the leadership. There have been instances when workers have raised slogans in Mr. Modi’s presence proclaiming him as the country’s future Prime Minister, with the Gujarat CM looking the other way.
Meanwhile, Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav, who is also the NDA convener, said parties of the BJP-led alliance should rather focus on key issues such as corruption, unemployment and the economic crisis.