Narendra Modi in focus, BJP sounds poll bugle
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BJP president Rajnath Singh on Friday singled out Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for special praise as he gave a battle cry for the 2014 general elections at the party's three-day national executive that began here on Friday.
Recalling the party's defeat in the 2009 polls, when it projected L K Advani as the prime ministerial candidate, he urged party workers to resolve to make good of the opportunity in 2014.
"He recalled the loss in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, but reminded to work with a resolve to make 2014 BJP's year," party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, briefing reporters on Singh's presidential address. "If 20th Century was a century of the Congress, let 21st Century be the century of the BJP," he quoted Singh as saying.
The BJP chief, however, completely avoided references to any kind of party's core shrill Hindutva rhetoric and instead apoke about Atal Bihari Vajpayee, ruing his unavailability. However, he said, "Advaniji's presence will fill to a large extent the absence of Vajpayee."
The meeting of the principal opposition party has a widely publicised theme of "Sushasan Sankalp, BJP Vikalp (Good governance as promise, BJP is the alternative)" aimed at the electorate.
In his address to the national executive members, Singh focussed on economic issues and faulted the UPA government for bringing the economy in distress and credited BJP-ruled states' contribution as the only silverlining sustaining whatever "precarious" growth of the country.
With good governance stumping the Hindutva rhetoric in his speech, Singh acknowledged Modi's growing stature by mentioning his governance twice more during his speech while other promising chief ministers — Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) — found mention once each for their achievements in the agriculture and PDS sectors respectively.
"The party president accorded a special welcome to Narendra Modi. He has created a new record among the BJP chief ministers by being the first to be re-elected for the third consecutive term with a very convincing majority. All the national executive members also welcomed him," Prasad said.
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