Pass agni pariksha Modi-style, Rajnath to poll bound states

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Jan 27 | Updated: Jan 28 2008, 06:16am hrs
Senior leader LK Advani might have been chosen to lead the party in the next Lok Sabha elections, the saffron outfit is set to follow Moditva in days to come, as BJP chief Rajnath Singh on Sunday sang peans for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and asked his counterparts in election bound Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to emulate him and pass agni pariksha (trial by fire).

By praising Modi at partys national executive meet here on Sunday, the BJP chief at once attempted to amend many of his earlier misadventure against Gujarat chief minister and conceded numero-uno status to him among the second rung leadership in the party to which he also belongs to.

Interestingly, almost a year ago, Singh dropped Modi from Parliamentary Board, the partys highest decision making body and while reacting over Gujarat election results last month; he attributed the victory to ideology and organisation and set a note of caution by saying no one is above party and discipline matters the most in BJP.

Claiming that victory in Gujarat has silenced many of partys opponents, Singh said, We have shattered the myth in Gujarat that BJP government cannot return to power twice or thrice. Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan should also try to repeat this kind of success.

Further, acknowledging his feat, the party chief also called him, the only chief minister, on the dais and as he proceeded from the front row, the executive members gave him a standing ovation for several minutes. Moreover, dubbing the UPA government as failed and worthless, Singh said, By approving our decision of declaring Advani as future Prime Minister, all our friends in NDA have given a message of unity and collectivity. I believe that this collectivity will lead us to victory.

The meeting, the first after Advanis anointment and NDAs endorsement of it, virtually saw curtains down on the era of Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Singh saying he has blessed Advani by handing over responsibilities. Briefing reporters, BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said, Singh also spoke of expanding the NDA alliance but did not spell out the possible allies saying it was a matter of strategy. Singhs speech at the meet was the beginning of a an intense exercise in the party on the poll preparations, which will be fine-tuned and given a final shape at the two-day National Council beginning Monday.