BJP to announce panels for Lok Sabha polls

New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) The parliamentary board of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday deliberated on "functional responsibilities" to be allotted to party leaders for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the assembly polls, and decided to form panels.

The panels would take on a variety of functions, from conducting election rallies to reaching out to people through social media.

However, the party deferred a declaration on the allocation of duties to party leaders by a day, amid signals that it would opt for "collective election management".

Sources said committees would be set up to deal with various election-related events, including rallies, electioneering, manifesto-writing and dissemination, development and display of publicity material, media management and reaching out to particular sections of voters like women, professionals or rural voters.

Party sources said the parliamentary board discussed "functional responsibilities" to be given to general secretaries and other senior leaders as part of its preparations for the coming electoral battles.

"The areas of responsibilities have been identified. Names would be announced tomorrow," a party leader said, after the meeting.

Sources said party president Rajnath Singh will consult leaders before giving them responsibilities.

The meeting, which lasted nearly two hours, was attended by all members of the parliamentary board including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and senior party leader L.K. Advani.

Modi was last month appointed chief of the party's campaign committee for the Lok Sabha elections.

BJP sources said that the party could appoint an election in-charge of states going to the polls, including Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, although any such move would be seen as endorsement of Advani's suggestion for a separate election management committee for these states.

There have been a series of discussions between senior BJP leaders and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders after last month's turbulence in the party, following the elevation of Modi as campaign committee chief.

Advani had resigned from key party posts a day after Modi's elevation, and had relented only after the intervention of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Advani had also been assured by Rajnath Singh that his grievances about the functioning of the party will be addressed.

Party sources said that senior leaders will be given specific responsibilities for election management, even as Modi heads the campaign committee.

The sources said former party presidents Nitin Gadkari and Murli Manohar Joshi are among those likely to be given election related responsibilities. Party leaders Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu may also be given "election management" responsibilities.

Sources said sections in the BJP were not unduly worried about Congress attacks on Modi, following some of his recent remarks.

They said the Congress seemed unsure whether it should attack Modi or ignore him, and only brought Modi to the centre stage each time it attacked him.

The parliamentary board also discussed the government's handling of the economy, its decisions to liberalise foreign direct investment norms in some sectors, and the party's strategy for the forthcoming monsoon session of parliament.

Modi had met Rajnath Singh Wednesday night to discuss the constitution of different committees. The parliamentary board had earlier authorised the BJP president and Modi to form committees in consultation with other members.

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