BJP president Rajnath Singh celebrating Narendra Modi's anointment as PM candidate
New Delhi: A determined BJP president Rajnath Singh worked overtime and held endless rounds of meetings to make sure that Narendra Modi's anointment as the party's Prime Ministerial candidate for 2014 went off without a hitch.
For the sake of a united front, Mr Singh met senior leader LK Advani several times before calling a meeting of the BJP parliamentary panel on Friday as a precursor to Mr Modi's crowning.
But Mr Advani resolutely opposed the naming of the Gujarat Chief Minister, foiling every attempt to bring him around, and finally, refusing to attend the key party meeting.
Responding to Mr Advani's letter expressing "disappointment at the way he is running the party", Rajnath Singh said, "Mr Advani is our seniormost leader and we need his guidance, we have great respect for him. Mr Modi even went to seek his blessings."
Sudheendra Kulkarni, an ex-aide of LK Advani, hit out at the second-time BJP president calling him 'foxy'.
"...a foxy party president, who has his own astrologically-induced delusions of becoming India's prime minister, has allowed himself to be prodded and dictated by vested interests to undermine Advani's position in the BJP," said Mr Kulkarni, also calling Mr Modi an 'autocrat'.
Mr Singh started his groundwork months ago, consulting chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, every member of the parliamentary board and other senior leaders to try and project unanimity behind Mr Modi.
He also coordinated closely with the party's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which virtually picked the day and hour of Modi's elevation.
A former Physics lecturer from Uttar Pradesh, Mr Singh himself is widely viewed as a party loyalist who does not have any designs on the Prime Ministerial post.
But critics questioned his single-minded dedication to projecting Narendra Modi. Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed tweeted, "Is Rajnath, with the help of RSS, using Modi to sideline Advani and Sushma Ji for his own chance when Modi is be rejected in 2014?
Story First Published: September 13, 2013 21:28 IST