PM­ship As­sured, Modi Tight­ens Grip over NDA

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

Prime Min­is­ter-elect Naren­dra Modi is likely to hold the po­si­tion of the chair­man of Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance (NDA), fol­low­ing the ex­am­ple of Atal Bi­hari Va­j­payee who headed both the govern­ment and the rul­ing coali­tion.

Top sources in the BJP said NDA’s work­ing chair­man LK Ad­vani had been told that Modi will have to lead the coali­tion to en­sure smooth func­tion­ing of the govern­ment and the sup­port­ing al­liance. Va­j­payee, who has been se­ri­ously un­well for some years, is still NDA chair­man.

The fact that BJP Pres­i­dent Ra­j­nath Singh and his pre­de­ces­sor Nitin Gad­kari are both said to be keen on join­ing the govern­ment, would mean that Modi can also have a per­son of choice as the next party chief.

But the fi­nal shape of the govern­ment re­mained un­clear. A pow­er­ful sec­tion of the RSS are said to be of the view that there should be no hurry to in­duct Ra­j­nath Singh into the Modi cab­i­net as his pres­ence is needed to steer the party through as­sem­bly polls.

“Apart from Ma­ha­rash­tra and Haryana as­sem­blies, which are due for polls this year, Bi­har, Jhark­hand and Ut­tarak­hand gov­ern­ments can also fall, forc­ing early elec­tions. In such a sit­u­a­tion RSS lead­ers feel it is not wise to get a new or a rel­a­tively ju­nior per­son as party pres­i­dent,” ex­plained a se­nior BJP func­tionary.

Ad­vani is likely to be the next Lok Sabha Speaker, ac­cord­ing to sources.

“He can­not work un­der Modi in the NDA govern­ment and will have to leave the post of NDA chair­man. In such a sce­nario, he is likely to be­come the Lok Sabha Speaker,” a se­nior party leader said. Party sources say Ad­vani may hold the post of Speaker till 2017 when a va­cancy arises in Rash­tra­p­ati Bhawan af­ter Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee com­pletes his term. How­ever, it re­mains to be seen if NDA would make him its Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date as the vet­eran leader would be 90 by then. Mean­while, it was a busy Sun­day with pos­si­ble min­is­te­rial as­pi­rants call­ing on Modi. The PM-elect too called on Ad­vani and an­other vet­eran leader MM Joshi. Modi had re­turned to the Cap­i­tal from Varanasi on Satur­day evening. Other than the Cab­i­net for­ma­tion is­sues, the de­vel­op­ments in Bi­har af­ter the res­ig­na­tion of Chief Min­is­ter Ni­tish Ku­mar were also dis­cussed. Dhar­men­dra Prad­han, BJP’s gen­eral sec­re­tary in­charge of Bi­har, met Modi and his close con­fi­dant Amit Shah in Gu­jarat Bhawan. An­other gen­eral sec­re­tary JP Nadda, whose name is do­ing the rounds as one of the can­di­dates to re­place Ra­j­nath as party chief, also met Modi. Se­nior leader Arun Jait­ley, who is likely to be a part of the cab­i­net though he lost the elec­tions from Am­rit­sar, met Modi on Sun­day af­ter­noon as did Ra­jasthan Chief Min­is­ter Va­sund­hara Raje and Kar­nataka lead­ers Ananth Ku­mar and BS Yed­dyu­rappa. Ku­mar and Yed­dyu­rappa are likely to be part of the Modi govern­ment. Na­tional Peo­ples' Party Chief PA Sangma, LJP chief and NDA part­ner Ram Vi­las Paswan were among the other lead­ers who met Modi. The RSS brass, in­clud­ing Mo­han Bhag­wat and Bhaiyyaji Joshi, are in Delhi and keep­ing a close eye on the de­vel­op­ments. Modi and Ra­j­nath Singh are in touch with the RSS lead­er­ship on cab­i­net for­ma­tion and other is­sues. The BJP Par­lia­men­tary Board will meet on May 20 to for­mally choose Modi as the Par­lia­men­tary Party chief and Prime Min­is­ter. The party will then hold a meet­ing with its NDA part­ners be­fore meet­ing Pres­i­dent Mukher­jee to stake a claim to form the govern­ment. While a date for oath-tak­ing is yet to be fi­nalised, party sources said it could be on May 24 or 25.

IN CON­TROL: PM-elect Naren­dra Modi with men­tor LK Ad­vani

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