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BJP president Rajnath Singh is believed to have made up his mind to hold a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board Friday and announce Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the BJP’s 2014 prime ministerial candidate despite failing to get veteran leader L K Advani on board.
Singh is learnt to have arrived at the decision after a late night meeting Thursday with RSS number two Bhaiyyaji Joshi at the RSS office Keshav Kunj in the capital.
However, efforts were still being made to soften L K Advani and party leaders were banking on former BJP president Nitin Gadkari to convince him. Gadkari met L K Advani late Thursday night, sources said.
Singh’s office said the parliamentary board meeting had been called at 5 pm Friday. But L K Advani’s office said it had not received any such communication.
Singh, they said, apprised the RSS bosses about his discussions within the party following two days of talks between the BJP and the RSS that ended Monday. Singh had held talks with L K Advani and separately with senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Wednesday. On Thursday, he met leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
Advani, Joshi and Swaraj are against Narendra Modi being named the party’s PM candidate before the crucial assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi later this year.
Singh’s talks with these leaders were an attempt to show the RSS leadership that he had tried his best to get them to back the announcement and to avoid being accused of working unilaterally, an allegation that was made after he declared Narendra Modi the party’s chief campaigner for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls at the party’s national executive meeting in Goa in June.
In another bid to demonstrate that all efforts were made to placate Advani, whose objections are considered to be the most assertive, Singh deputed BJP leaders Venkaiah Naidu, Ananth Kumar, Murlidhar Rao and Shahnawaz Hussain to meet L K Advani Thursday and get him to relent.
RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy, who was instrumental in convincing L K Advani to stay on after the Goa episode, also met L K Advani Thursday.
Sources said that all leaders who