Keep Narendra Modi in ring but donít send Nitin Gadkari out
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Say State BJP leaders; ask party to revisit Advani-Vajpayee formula of '96.
The victory of Narendra Modi in Gujarat has prompted a section of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra to urge its leadership to project Modi as the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general election and retain Nitin Gadkari as national president for a second consecutive term.
They cited the success of a similar formula for the 1996 elections, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime ministerial candidate and LK Advani was party president.
As of now, the Maharashtra unit of the party is divided into two factions, one batting for Modi as prime ministerial candidate and star campaigner for the 2014 polls, and the other against any move to sideline Gadkari, who is from Maharashtra, from the national stage.
The formula would work for both, they argue. They recalled how, at the Mumbai conclave of the BJP in 1995, then party president Advani projected Vajpayee as prime ministerial candidate and how it succeeded in making Vajpayee the PM.
A section of the state unit feels that in the bid to bring Modi to the centre stage, if Gadkari ó who had been handpicked by the RSS ó is unceremoniously removed, it would not work for the party in Maharashtra, which also goes to poll in 2014.
They argue Modi's projection as prime ministerial candidate would galvanise the party cadre, working to the advantage of the party by tapping into Gujarati votes in Maharashtra. Retaining Gadkari as national president would avoid major rift in the party in Maharashtra, they contend.
The BJP state unit intends to use Modi's Gujarat development mantra to score over the ruling Congress-led alliance in Maharashtra, which at the moment is embroiled in scams and is being accused of administrative complacency on all fronts.
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