Being poll campaign chief does not mean PM candidate

Panaji, June 9 (IANS) Narendra Modi has been given the charge of the BJP's campaign for next general elections, a move some say is his unofficial donning of the party's prime ministerial candidate role, but past experiences tell a different tale.

The head of the election management committee and the prime ministerial face of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have not been the same person so far.

In 2004, when the outgoing BJP government was headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he was declared the prime ministerial candidate of the party. The election management committee was then headed by Pramod Mahajan.

In 2009, when L.K. Advani was announced the prime ministerial aspirant by the party, Arun Jaitley was the convener of the party's campaign committee.

However, Modi - who has emerged as the most popular leader of the party - is being seen as the probable prime ministerial candidate too of the BJP.

The decision of giving him the charge for the general election is being seen by many as an informal declaration that he is the contender for the top post.

"Election campaign management is given to a leader who has good management skills. Narendra Modi certainly has that. The prime ministerial candidate is still a far cry," said a senior BJP leader, who did not wish to be named.

Comments from some quarters of the party, however, made it appear that he is the "final" face of the BJP now.

Jaitley hailed Modi's appointment as a move to change "the course of Indian politics".

"The decision will give a new direction not just to the party, but to Indian politics," Jaitley said.

"This is a move which will give face to the emotions of the people of this country. India needs a strong leadership," he said.

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