New Delhi: Last-ditch efforts are now being made to convince the BJP's senior most leader LK Advani to support naming Narendra Modi as the party's candidate for Prime Minister. RSS emissary Nitin Gadkari visited Mr Advani last night and BJP president Rajnath Singh met him at his residence for 30 minutes this morning.
So far Mr Advani and others in the anti-Modi coterie like Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi have not come around. They want the Modi-for-PM announcement to be delayed till after Assembly elections in five states in November.
Sources said that while the continued opposition of these A-listers is unlikely to change the date of the Modi announcement - expected by the end of this week or early next week - Rajnath Singh might now not convene a meeting of the party's parliamentary board, a group of 12 top leaders, at all.
He might instead meet top leaders individually to avoid the risk of a public showdown over naming Mr Modi presumptive PM for 2014. Mr Advani, Ms Swaraj and Mr Joshi are members of the parliamentary board.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS has told Mr Singh that he must decide on how to make the announcement soonest; Mr Singh has always maintained that he would like the parliamentary board to unanimously announce the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
There was talk earlier that the 13th and the 16th of this month were seen as dates when all 12 members were available to meet.
The RSS wants Mr Modi's name announced before September 19, when an auspicious period on the Hindu calendar ends. Supporters of the Gujarat Chief Minister are pushing for an announcement before September 17, Mr Modi's 63rd birthday.
Nitin Gadkari is expected to brief the RSS brass in Nagpur today about his discussions with Mr Advani yesterday.
Early this year, Mr Advani was chiefly instrumental in ensuring that Nitin Gadkari did not get an unprecedented second term as BJP chief as he faced corruption charges. Since then, however, he has supported and even projected Mr Gadkari for important party roles.