Modi meets Advani to get backing for new role

New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday met L.K. Advani to get the BJP patriarch's backing for his new role as head of the BJP's campaign committee, an elevation that has split the NDA.

He also discussed with senior leaders the strategy for the five assembly elections scheduled this year-end as well as the 2014 Lok Sabha battle, party sources said Tuesday.

Modi also visited ailing former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and met senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi. All three -- Advani, Vajpayee and Joshi -- have been presidents of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

A source close to Advani, who caused a tsunami by revolting a day after Modi was elevated to be BJP's face in the next Lok Sabha election, described the meeting as "good" and said it ended "on a positive note".

But there was no official word on the 45-minute Advani-Modi meet that took place at the former's residence.

Party sources said Modi reportedly discussed recent political developments including the split in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) quit the NDA following Modi's elevation. The JD-U also dumped the BJP from the coalition government in Bihar.

Modi's meeting with Advani was the first since the former deputy prime minister stunned the BJP by resigning from party posts after accusing most of its leaders of pursuing personal agenda.

He made the charge May 10, a day after Modi was elected in Goa as the election campaign chief despite reservations from Advani.

Advani relented and took back his resignation following the intervention of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

According to BJP sources, Modi is understood to have told Advani that the veteran leader remained the patriarch of the BJP and expressed optimism about the party's performance in the 2014 general election.

Modi Tuesday spent about an hour at the residence of Vajpayee.

In his first meeting with the party general secretaries after being named the head of BJP election campaign committee, Modi asked them to come up with ideas to improve the party's electoral prospects. The strategy session lasted for over two hours.

Indicating his special interest in Uttar Pradesh, Modi held a separate meeting with his confidant and state in charge Amit Shah to discuss the seats where the party could emerge stronger, said the sources.

Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari Tuesday said a "civil war" was raging in the BJP.

"What is happening in the BJP is their internal matter. It is a civil war situation playing out like reality television," Tewari said.

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