Advani, Sushma set to quit over Modi choice?

Amidst speculation that veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani and his protégé Sushma Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, could quit their posts if the party declares Gujarat CM Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate ahead of the coming Assembly polls, party president Rajnath Singh appears determined to go ahead with the announcement, perhaps even on Friday or early next week.

“Modi will be named our PM candidate with or without Advani and Sushma”, a senior party leader claimed. A parliamentary board meeting is scheduled at 5 pm on Friday.
These two leaders appear somewhat isolated as, barring them, all other senior leaders, including Murli Manohar Joshi, have apparently fallen in line and decided to back Mr Modi. Top BJP leaders were tightlipped about the speculation that Ms Swaraj had threatened to resign as Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha if the party went ahead and named Mr Modi without taking Mr Advani on board. Similar-ly Mr Advani, the “sulking” patriarch whose own PM ambitions will take a hit by Mr Modi’s elevation, has apparently threatened to resign as parliamentary party chief. It may be recalled that Mr Advani resigned from key party posts after Mr Modi was named the election campaign committee chief despite his objections. He later withdrew his resignation after the RSS intervened. Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, who had earlier opposed the announcement of Mr Modi’s name at this juncture, also fell in line after the BJP chief met him on Thursday. Mr Singh also met Ms Swaraj in the evening to convince her, but she apparently told him that Mr Advani should be brought on board before any formal announcement is made.
The BJP chief later briefed senior RSS leader Bhaiyya Joshi on his meetings with Mr Advani and Ms Swaraj. The RSS, it is learnt, told Mr Singh to go ahead even without Mr Advani’s consent.

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