M A I N   N E W S

In Delhi, Modi plays peacemaker
Tribune News Service

BJP parliamentary board meets
BJP parliamentary board meeting was chaired by party president Rajnath Singh and attended by Modi, LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and other top leaders
BJP parliamentary party to formally elect Modi as leader on May 20. Allies will be accommodated, says Rajnath

New Delhi, May 17
Prime Minister-in-waiting Narendra Modi will be formally elected as the leader of the BJP parliamentary party on May 20 -- a formality before he takes charge of the Prime Minister's Office.

A day after Modi led the BJP to a historic victory in the elections with the party alone managing 282 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, the man of the moment arrived to a rousing welcome in the national capital.

Top BJP leaders felicitated him as he -- driving through roads lined by cheering supporters and escorted by elite commandos -- arrived in a convoy to the party office at 11, Ashoka Road for a meeting of the parliamentary board.

“The credit for the historic win goes to our workers and to the people who voted for us," the PM-in-waiting said to chants of “Modi...Modi...”

The meeting of the parliamentary board -- the highest decision-making body of the party -- was chaired by party president Rajnath Singh and attended by Modi, LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and other top leaders.

Live feed streaming on television channels ahead of the closed-door meeting showed Modi completely in control of the situation. He touched the feet of senior leader LK Advani, who pulled him into a hug and offered him sweets. The moment was meant to signify the end of tension between the two leaders. Leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi, who are believed to be on Advani’s side and in opposition to Modi, greeted him with bouquets, handshakes and hugs.

Though the BJP leaders remained tight-lipped about the size and shape of Modi’s cabinet, sources say the PM-in-waiting has, in his mind, the exact blueprint which he also shared with the RSS. “The cabinet is expected to be small with technocrats assisting the ministers in their job,” they say. However, there is still no clarity over the role of Advani, Swaraj and Joshi in Modi’s cabinet. Swaraj wants the External Affairs Ministry, but sources say Modi would prefer someone who can further his thought and line on India’s foreign policy.

After the meeting, all that Rajnath Singh said was that “we know who will be chosen our leader”. “We will invite our allies for an NDA meet on the same day and thank them for their role in the win,” he added.

Sources said that the allies would be accommodated according to their strength in the Lok Sabha. For example, the Akali Dal can expect one MoS-rank berth. Had senior leader Arun Jaitley won from Amritsar, the regional ally would perhaps have been in a better bargaining position.

Though the sources deny any tension between the BJP and Akali Dal on the issue of Jaitley’s defeat, sources admit that it will but naturally change political dynamics between two long-standing allies when the state goes to elections. “Akali Dal is our 'dukh-sukh ka saathi', but the Amritsar loss and AAP wins are a wake-up call for us,” they say.


Though the dates have not yet been announced, Modi is expected to take oath in the forecourts of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Dismissing media speculation, Rajnath Singh said no date had been fixed for the swearing in of Modi as the prime minister and it would be decided after the parliamentary party meeting.

Once the formalities are completed, the BJP will approach President Pranab Mukherjee to convey to him the election of their leader for appointment as the prime minister. The over one-hour meeting of the parliamentary board adopted a resolution applauding the stewardship of Modi's "tireless efforts" and "inspirational" leadership.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |