BJP looking for post-poll alliances: Party chief

Washington, July 25 (IANS) Downplaying the impact of the Narendra Modi issue on Bharatiya Janata Party's poll prospects, party president Rajnath Singh has asserted that it would have no dearth of potential allies in a post-poll scenario.

"Our first effort would be to see that BJP gets the required 272 seats (to form a government) on its own. That's our target," he told Indian media here Wednesday declining to spell out the basis of his optimism.

"But if it fell short, there would be no dearth of coalition partners," Rajnath Singh said citing the example of the BJP-led 24-party post-poll coalition government formed after the 1998 Lok Sabha poll that in his words "made history" by lasting six years.

Asked which parties was it eyeing as possible allies or if it had received feelers from any other party, he parried: "No party should disclose its poll strategy."

But would the projection of the Gujarat chief minister as party leader not pose a problem in finding allies? "No, Modi or anyone, there would be no problem" over the leadership issue, Rajnath Singh insisted.

But he hastened to add that he had never projected Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate during his interaction with the media in New York Saturday.

It was for the party's central parliamentary board to project its prime ministerial candidate "at a suitable moment", said Rajnath Singh dressed in his trademark dhoti kurta and Nehru jacket and speaking in Hindi with party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi translating.

Asked who the contenders were for the top job in the event of BJP coming to power, he said: "There are no contenders because there has never been a race for leadership in BJP, which is the only party with such a healthy tradition."

Denying that Modi was a polarising figure, he said there was indeed a consensus within the party over the leadership of the Gujarat chief minister. "Had it not been so, would he have named Modi as the party's election campaign chief?" he asked.

"Narendra Modi is a very popular leader. A very very popular leader of my country," he added.

The BJP chief also sought to dispel the impression that he had come to the US get the visa ban lifted on the Gujarat chief minister, who has been denied a US visa since 2005 for his alleged role or inaction in 2002 Godhra riots.

"This is a US administration issue, not our issue," Rajnath Singh said though he did think it was a "paradox" that while the US Congressional Research Service had praised the leadership of Modi, the administration continued to deny him a visa.

The BJP chief said he had not taken up the visa issue in his interactions with American lawmakers or policy experts at think tanks though some of them themselves questioned the rationale of denying Modi a visa.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »