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RSS, BJP meet; eye on PM candidate

RSS, BJP meet; eye on PM candidate

New Delhi: Leaders of BJP and RSS met Sunday at a "Samanvay Baithak (coordination meeting)" amid indications that an announcement could be made on declaring Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate in the next 10 days.

The two-day meeting is being held against the backdrop of intense discussions in the party on the issue of naming Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had said Saturday that it has conveyed its opinion to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the issue.

Sources said that meeting had been called to discuss coordination strategy ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

They said the meeting was attended by top functionaries of RSS and senior leaders of BJP. RSS is considered fountainhead of BJP.

Senior party leader L.K. Advani was not present at the meeting in the first few hours and joined it in the afternoon, they said.

Apart from Advani, the meeting was attended by party leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Murli Manohar Joshi apart from party chief Rajnath Singh.

Sources said there were differing views in the party on projecting Modi as prime ministerial candidate. While a section wants him to be projected as the party's face for the general polls before elections to the five states assemblies later this year, another section wants the decision to be deferred till these elections were over.

Advani and Sushma Swaraj are learnt to be of the view that any decision on projecting Modi should be taken after the assembly polls. However, sources said that the view gaining momentum was that Modi should be declared prime ministerial candidate before the election process starts in motion in the five states.

"An announcement could be made by Sep 20," a party leader said.

Sources said that the issue of prime ministerial candidate did not specifically come up for discussion Sunday. Modi left for Ahmedabad in the evening due to prior engagements in Gandhinagar.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who is expected to attend the meeting Monday, has met Advani and Sushma Swaraj in an apparent effort to reach a consensus on Modi's name.

Sources said Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders also attended the meeting. The sources said its recent march in Uttar Pradesh, which banned by the Akhilesh Yadav government, was also discussed.

RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya had said Saturday that issues relating to economy, national security and the society will be discussed at the meeting.


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