L K Advani on Wednesday appeared to be a stumbling block for the BJP in finalising the name of Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate and hectic efforts were underway to convince him to give up his opposition.
BJP President Rajnath Singh had a 30-minute meeting with Advani to persuade him on Modi’s candidature but failed to get an assurance, sources said.
His predecessor Nitin Gadkari had met Advani yesterday as an emissary of the RSS for the same purpose but reportedly went back empty-handed. Gadkari left for Nagpur, where the RSS headquarters are located, to brief the Sangh founthead on the developments.
There are reports that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat may meet Modi in Gandhinagar on Thursday to discuss this issue. RSS has categorically said there is no dispute over Modi’s name but the timing of the announcement has to be decided by the BJP.
Meanwhile, General Secretary (Organisation) Ramlal- who is the RSS pointsman in BJP- has been given the task of finding a suitable date before September 19 when the Parliamentary Board members are in the capital so that a meeting can be held.
Other than Advani, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi are also opposed to announcing Modi as the PM candidate before the forthcoming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi.
“A decision on the issue will be taken by the Parliamentary Board with as much consensus as possible,” BJP spokesperson Sudanshu Trivedi told reporters in reply to a question on whether all members are on board on Modi.
He denied reports that the panel may meet on September 13 and said no formal decision on a date has been taken yet.
Those opposed to Modi, however, maintain that had there been a consensus on his name the Parliamentary Board would have been called at a short notice.
“Looking for consensus date is a facade. Parliamentary Board meetings have been called even at a few hours notice,” a senior leader said.