Despite patriarch L.K. Advani’s opposition, the BJP Friday formally declared Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi its prime ministerial candidate, and he promptly vowed to lead the party to victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
There were joyous scenes at the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters here as Modi, 62, one of the youngest in the country’s political establishment, drove in to attend a meeting of the parliamentary board which decided to name him as its general for the parliamentary battle.
BJP president Rajnath Singh made the formal announcement at a media conference, and Modi pledged to do everything to ensure that the BJP again got to rule the world’s largest democracy.
“I promise that in the 2014 election, the BJP will emerge victorious,” a confident sounding Modi said flanked by a galaxy of senior colleagues, the notable absentee being his former mentor Advani.
“For this, the party will work hard and we will leave no stone unturned,” said Modi in a brief speech after accepting sweets, bouquets and garlands from senior and junior colleagues.
He said the country was passing through a crisis and the party.
“I am sure that people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari will vote for the lotus symbol,” Modi said of the BJP’s election symbol.
But like in June, when Advani had revolted against the BJP’s decision to name Modi its election campaign chief, the former party leader stayed away from the parliamentary board meeting to express his displeasure over the decision to make Modi the prime ministerial candidate.
Even before the Gujarat chief minister flew into New Delhi, there were hectic parleys within the BJP establishment, with Rajnath Singh holding a string of meetings to convince everyone to fall in line. And everyone did — except Advani, formerly Modi’s mentor.
A political pundit aligned with the BJP hailed Friday’s decision.