Senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha caused a minor ripple when he spoke out of turn in favour of Narendra Modi. He couched his opinion cautiously enough, saying many of the party workers felt that Modi would be the right man to be prime minister, and that this was personal opinion as well. He concluded saying that it is of course the party that will have to take a call.
Sinha’s statement has become the talking point on Monday, a day after Modi met Rajnath Singh and discussed 2014 election scenario. Sinha as an outsider inside the BJP has used his peculiar status to articulate positions not available to dyed-in-RSS BJP insiders. Many people in the party were against Gadkari but they could not air their view because of the ingrained RSS discipline. It was left to Sinha to say bluntly that Gadkari would harm BJP’s image.
In a similar manner, though many in the BJP are in favour of Modi they cannot say so because the announcement has to come from the top echelons of the RSS and the party. Sinha again spoke out in favour of Modi.
Interestingly, the BJP core committee rebuked Sinha publicly for releasing his statement against Gadkari to the media. After the meeting at LKAdvani’s house, party’s chief national spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said Sinha is a senior leader and that he should use the party fora and not the media to express his views, and supported Gadkari. Today, the party is unlikely to praise Sinha openly for throwing up Modi’s name for the prime ministerial position.
Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh agreed Modi is a popular leader and said any decision on such an issue will be taken by the Parliamentary Board. “There are no two opinions about Narendra Modi being a popular leader. In BJP, we don’t only have a tradition but a system also that for such a decision, the Central Parliamentary Board of BJP talks and decides on such an issue,” Singh told reporters in Nagpur.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is quite circumspect about declaring Modi as its choice as it has to consider whether it can carry its allies because it knows that it cannot come to power on its own and cannot do without the allies.