This Article is From May 16, 2014

Advani Could be Speaker, Sushma Wants a Top-4 Ministry: BJP Sources

File photo of LK Advani with Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: BJP president Rajnath Singh met party patriarch LK Advani on Thursday, hours before counting of votes starts for the general elections. 

With exit polls showing that the BJP is headed, with its allies, for a clear majority, one of the key decisions the party has to take is what role Mr Advani will play should the BJP form a government under Narendra Modi.

Sources said Mr Advani is keen to be Lok Sabha Speaker and the party could give him that post.

The party also has to decide on an appropriate role for the very senior Sushma Swaraj, who, like Mr Advani, is not close to Mr Modi and is currently reported to be upset that she has not been made an offer commensurate with her seniority. Ms Swaraj is the Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Lok Sabha.

Ms Swaraj, sources say, is clear that she will not accept just any place in a Modi cabinet. She has reportedly said she is open to only heading one of the four top ministries - Home, Finance, Defence or External Affairs. These ministers, with the PM, form what is called the Cabinet Committee on Security or CCS.

Sources said Mr Singh has this evening asked Mr Advani to intervene and placate Ms Swaraj.

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Rajnath Singh also held a three-hour-long meeting on Thursday with RSS leader Suresh Soni at his residence and reportedly discussed government formation. The RSS, said sources, wants a mentor-like role for Mr Advani like the Congress' Sonia Gandhi played as chairperson of the UPA, the alliance her party leads.

But sources said Mr Modi is keen to be chairperson of the NDA, his party's national alliance.

The RSS, the BJP's ideological mentor, has played a significant role in the party's campaign, mobilising its cadres to ensure a BJP win and now, with exit polls predicting that victory, wants to ensure a smooth transition for Mr Modi.

It reportedly wants no nasty last-minute surprises or public sulks of the kind Mr Advani had staged last year as Mr Modi was promoted in the party.