Formal BJP announcement on Modi as PM nominee likely

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) BJP president Rajnath Singh is expected to announce Friday evening the decision to appoint Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 elections, party sources said.

However, it was not known whether the BJP's parliamentary board, one the party's top decision making panels, had taken a stand on naming Modi for the top executive post.

The party had all along been saying that the final decision on the prime ministerial candidate would be taken by the board.

A source said that earlier there were indications that the parliamentary board was supposed to meet on the issue in the evening.

But a member of the parliamentary board told IANS Friday afternoon that he had received no information on a meeting of the panel.

"I have been hearing from media that there is a parliamentary meeting scheduled at 5 p.m. Nothing has been communicated to me officially," the member told IANS.

Sources said a series of meetings had been held over the past two days involving party leaders L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Anant Kumar, Nitin Gadkari and Ram Lal apart from Rajnath Singh.

Advani and Sushma Swaraj are learnt to be of the opinion that any decision on the party's prime ministerial candidate should be taken after assembly polls to five states later this year.

Party sources said that Advani continued to have reservations on naming Modi as the party's face in the general elections and it was not clear if Sushma Swaraj had come on board on the issue.

Advani is learnt to have told party leaders that making Modi the prime ministerial candidate would divert attention from the BJP's core issues of price rise and corruption against the United Progressive Alliance government.

However, supporters of Modi and a section of party leaders seem to disagree.

G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, a member of BJP's national executive, said Thursday that the party leaders were trying to reach a consensus on announcement about Modi.

He also said that the party was willing to make the announcement despite the reservations of some leaders. "Hope there is consensus in parliamentary board. If not, the majority decision will prevail," Narasimha Rao said.

Party leaders said Rajnath Singh may, as an exception, make an announcement on Modi after consulting members of the board individually.

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