New Delhi: Just when it seemed like Narendra Modi's bid to run for prime minister was being unexpectedly supported by his competitors within the BJP, the party has course-corrected, emphasising that Mr Modi has not been selected for the top job.
Appearing on NDTV's Left, Right and Centre, former BJP president Venkaiah Naidu said that Mr Modi is undoubtedly a capable leader but is being projected as chief minister, not prime minister. Mr Naidu also asserted that other members of the alliance will be consulted about the prime ministerial nominee.
Nitish Kumar, a key member of the coalition and chief minister of Bihar, has made it clear that he will walk out of the NDA if Mr Modi is selected.
Over the weekend, senior leader Sushma Swaraj said that she believes Mr Modi is fit to be Prime Minister. A day later, Mr Advani, who is also believed to be interested in the top job, said, "Someone once asked me if Modi has become bigger than the party. I replied that in a family sometimes the younger ones are more capable then then the seniors and in such a case, seniors do not feel bad, they feel happy that a youth from their family is so capable."
The communal riots of Gujarat in 2002 in which nearly 1200 people were killed, most of them Muslims, have led to leaders like the Bihar chief minister wanting to be politically distant from him. Mr Kumar is supported by the large Muslim population in his state; he has refused to let Mr Modi campaign in Bihar.