Team Modi, Guide Advani

The BJP on Friday performed a balancing act as it announced party central election campaign committee head Narendra Modi’s much-awaited team in the run-up to the coming Assembly polls and the 2014 general election. The team will work under the “overall guidance” of BJP Parliamentary Party chief L.K. Advani along with party chief Rajnath Singh and party patriarch Atal Behari Vajpayee, who is not in active politics due to health reasons.
In an indication of Mr Modi’s stature in the saffron party, almost the entire parliamentary board, excluding Mr Advani and the BJP chief ministers, are part of Team Modi.
The parliamentary board is the highest decision making body in the BJP. The party also announced 20 sub-committees which will work under Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. Mr Modi is considered the front-runner to become the party’s prime ministerial candidate. Incidentally, the RSS had been advising Mr Advani, who is eyeing the PM candidate post and is upset with Mr Modi’s elevation, to play the role of the party’s “guide”. Former party chief Nitin Gadkari has been asked to pay “special attention” to Delhi in the forthcoming Assembly polls; he will also head the sub-committee that is to prepare the vision document for the polls.
The announcement regarding Team Modi and the 20 sub-committees came almost 24 hours after the parliamentary board meeting on Thursday. Some senior leaders, including Mr Advani, Ms Sushma Swaraj and Mr Ananth Kumar, it was learnt, were unhappy with the composition of some sub-committees.
Ms Swaraj, sources said, was earlier reluctant to report to Mr Modi. Mr Modi himself met Mr Advani separately for an hour after the parliamentary board meeting at the latter’s residence.
After a series of meetings with some parliamentary board members, it was decided that the party chief, along with Mr Advani, will be asked to “guide” Team Modi. The issue had cropped up earlier after it was announced that Mr Modi would work along with Mr Singh in consultations with senior leaders for the formation of sub-committees. The issue was also discussed with the RSS top brass.
The RSS is backing Mr Modi for PM candidate but does not want to upset Mr Advani, who had recently resigned from key party posts over Mr Modi’s elevation. He withdrew his resignation after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat intervened. The RSS is actively involved in the BJP’s poll preparations.
“All the sub-committees will be steered under the leadership of Narendra Modi... The party has given Modi the responsibility of 2014 elections... Under his leadership the whole campaign will move forward,” Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Ananth Kumar said.
While senior leader M.M. Joshi will head the manifesto committee, which will also have Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh assisting him, the vision document committee will be headed by Mr Gadkari, considered close to the RSS.
The campaign committee will be headed by both Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and will have Amit Shah and Sudhanshu Trivedi as members. Party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will head the logistics coordination team.
General secretaries Ananth Kumar and Varun Gandhi will be responsible for holding more than 100 rallies across the country from next month.
To target new voters, a committee of Amit Shah, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Trivendra Rawat has been constituted. Senior leaders Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Prakash Javadekar and Tamil Esai will be responsible for mobilising intellectuals.
Senior leaders Gopinath Munde and Ravi Shankar Prasad, along with Nirmala Sitharaman and Meenakshi Lekhi, will prepare a chargesheet on the misrule of the UPA. Legal matters, along with Election-Commission-related issues, will be handled by Satpal Jain, Bhupendra Yadav and Pinky Anand.
The party will attempt to mobilise support among different communities — like weavers, farmers, peasants and labourers — through targeted conferences to be organised by general secretary Murlidhar Rao.

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