Modi gets thumbs up as BJP goes into huddle

Panaji, June 7 (IANS) As BJP leaders slipped into their first huddle on day one of a key party conclave, a string of leaders already appear to have given Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi a thumbs up as far as the road to the Lok Sabha polls is concerned.

The man who set the ball rolling was Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who said: "Modi can catapult BJP to power. He will take us closer to government formation at the centre."

Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP national general secretary and newly appointed in-charge of the party in Bihar, used military analogy to explain the importance of Modi to the electoral fortunes of the party.

"There is no doubt Modi is the best commando we have. In war, we use our best weapons and commandos," Pradhan said.

"Party workers and the common people are excited at his (Modi's) name. As the party president has always said, he is the most popular leader," he added.

The BJP's national executive and national council meets are being held at the Goa Marriott resort. The three-day conclave started Friday.

It is being attended by members of the BJP's parliamentary board, the highest decision making body in the party, general secretaries, and state chiefs of the party.

BJP leader L.K. Advani, who was expected to be present, stayed away from the Friday meeting citing "ill health".

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar, who is in Goa, said that he expected "something concrete to come out of the meeting", while sources said that Modi was tipped as the party's campaign committee chief for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

BJP leader Balbir Punj also expressed confidence in Modi's leadership. "Modi is ready for a bigger role," he said.

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