BJP-RSS work on strategy shift: a larger role for Narendra Modi, focus on Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, say sources

BJP-RSS work on strategy shift: a larger role for Narendra Modi, focus on Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, say sources
New Delhi:  Top leaders of the BJP met this morning with the RSS to discuss the party's strategy for the Lok Sabha elections scheduled to be held in 2014.

Sources have told the BJP and RSS leaders are working  on a strategy shift focus on the issue of  the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.  At today's meeting, the two sides reportedly discussed their strategy for upcoming Sangh-backed saints meet at the Mahakumbh in Allahabad. That Sangh-backed meet is likely to announce a time line for the Ayodhya temple

The BJP and RSS may appoint Mr Modi as the head of the party's campaign committee soon. At today's meet, sources say, a larger role for Mr Modi was discussed.

New party president Rajnath Singh, party senior LK Advani and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj were at the meeting. From the RSS, Bhaiyaji Joshi and Suresh Soni were attending the meeting.

Party president Rajnath Singh, after the meeting told reporters, "There is no question of a clash with RSS. I am the president of BJP and a member of RSS, so where is the question of a clash?"

Quashing suggestions of pressure from the Sangh in BJP's appointments, he said, "In such meetings, we have never discussed who should be office bearers of BJP or in the government.
The Parliamentary board is the correct forum for  deciding on who will be our prime ministerial candidate should be."

This morning, the BJP's oldest ally the Shiv Sena demanded that the National Democratic Alliance or NDA meet soon to decide who it will project as its candidate for Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha elections. That comes close on the heels of senior party leaders like Yashwant Sinha and Ram Jethmalani suggesting that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi be named for that role.

The Shiv Sena has said it prefers Sushma Swaraj as the NDA's candidate for PM, the Janata Dal (United) has reiterated that Mr Modi is unacceptable to it. (Read)

Another key ally, the Akali Dal has said it would be happy with Mr Modi leading the NDA charge. "Whichever candidate the BJP and NDA chose, we are with them," Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal told NDTV today.

Mr Singh took over as BJP president last week; he was a last-minute consensus choice, when rebellion in the party and an income tax investigation cancelled Nitin Gadkari's chances of becoming BJP president for an unprecedented second consecutive term.

Mr Singh, who will now lead the party through the crucial phase of the Lok Sabha elections next year, also reportedly discussed his new BJP team with Ms Swaraj in a two-hour meeting yesterday.  

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