Monday, June 10, 2013

BJP leaders, members happy, cool, indifferent to Modi appointment

Panaji: BJP’s senior leaders and others gave different and interesting responses to the appointment of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the election campaign committee chairman. Senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi smiled and said, “All party decisions are bold and good.” Joshi also said that it was the prerogative of the party president to appoint the campaign committee chairman. Another senior leader M.Venkaiah Naidu said that there were no differences in arriving at the decision. Party spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman said that this was not a decision that was waiting to be made, and that there were consultations spread over the two days on the national executive. She was conveying the point that due deliberation was done before announcing the decision. Rajya Sabha member Piyush Goel said that there was no need for elaborate discussion in the matter because majority of the party workers were already for it and the decision had to be taken. Asked about the process and deliberations that preceded the decision, party vice president Smriti Irani said, “It is what happens in the party and I cannot share it with you,” she said. Another party office-bearer speaking on condition of anonymity said that the decision had to be kept on hold till the last because otherwise the media would not have covered the national executive on the two days, and the resolutions that were moved, discussed and adopted. BJP’s secretary for organization, Ram Lal, who is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) representative in the party, smiled and refused to answer whether there was much consultation and discussion over the issue. Goa deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza said that the appointment of Modi was not the agenda of the national executive, and he was unhappy that the media paid no attention to the resolutions on internal security and the political situation, which were important and which had a bearing on the policy outlook of the party. “The appointment of Modi as chief of the campaign committee was a bureaucratic and administrative decision which the president could announce on his own. It is not a policy decision. The announcement did not require the approval of the national,” he said. He did however admit that the decision was announced at the national executive reflected the sense of the party forum. Interestingly, senior leader Sushma Swaraj left after the press briefing. She was not present at the party workers’ party at Taleigao. The banner at Taleigao showed Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj on the left top of the banner, and Arun Jaitley and Narendra Modi were on the top right. There were two separate vertical banners, one showing Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the left, and L.K.Advani on the right. The new BJP constellation now comprises Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Narendra Modi.

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