Advani to skip BJP office bearers' meet

Panaji, June 7 (IANS) BJP veteran L.K. Advani and many senior leaders will be missing from the meeting of the office bearers of the party here Friday ahead of the two-day national executive meeting over the weekend.

The meeting is seen as significant as the matter of who will lead the Bharatiya Janata Party's campaign committee for the 2014 general elections is likely to feature in it.

Sources from the party say Advani will not attend the office bearers' meeting, seen as a preparatory one. Advani, however, is expected to reach Goa Saturday morning, in time for the national executive conference.

The 85-year-old party veteran has cited health reasons for skipping the meeting.

Another senior party leader, 75-year-old Jaswant Singh, told reporters in the New Delhi that he was "going to hospital" and may not be in Goa.

Some other faces missing are Uma Bharati, who wrote to party president Rajnath Singh expressing inability to attend, on grounds of poor health. Party general secretary Varun Gandhi is travelling abroad, and will remain absent too.

Deputy leader of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha Ravishankar Prasad, who is in Sri Lanka, will also miss the Goa session.

The office bearers' meeting Friday is scheduled to begin 3 p.m.. Members of the BJP's parliamentary board, the highest decision making body of the party, general secretaries, and state chiefs of the party are set to attend.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a strong contender for the party's prime ministerial candidate slot, will also be there.

Sources say party president Rajnath Singh, and a group of leaders, backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are in favour of making Modi the chief of the party's campaign committee.

This is seen as an indication that Modi could emerge as the face of the party for the 2014 elections, its prime ministerial candidate.

According to party insiders, Advani, and some key leaders, are not in favour of Modi as the BJP campaign chief. Senior BJP leader and former union finance minister Yashwant Sinha said Thursday that Modi was unlikely to lead the BJP campaign in 2014.


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