The Telegraph
Saturday , January 26 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Modi ‘larger’ role in Feb

New Delhi, Jan. 25: The BJP will define in mid-February the “larger” role Narendra Modi is expected to play in the party, Rajnath Singh said today.

The newly anointed BJP chief said the party’s national executive/council would meet around February 15 in Bhopal. The agenda is to ratify Rajnath’s stint for the next three years.

The dates of the meeting will be finalised depending on when the party-run Madhya Pradesh government decides to pass its budget .

Once Rajnath’s appointment is sealed, he will reconstitute his team of office-bearers and the BJP’s policy and decision-making bodies, the central parliamentary board and the central election committee.

Modi is expected to be inducted into both panels, giving him a direct say in matters like candidate selection in state elections due this year. The BJP may also set up its campaign committee at the same time and ask the Gujarat chief minister to head it.

Many in the party rank-and-file want Modi to be projected the BJP prime ministerial face in next year’s general elections, the clamour heightened by the findings of two surveys on the mood of the nation whose results came out yesterday.

Both surveys showed Modi way ahead of Rahul Gandhi and BJP leaders like Sushma Swaraj and L.K. Advani in the prime ministerial sweepstakes.

One poll found that if the BJP projected Modi, its vote share could increase 1 to 2 per cent.

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy welcomed the findings, which also gave the party-led NDA a decisive edge over the UPA in a Lok Sabha poll.

But when Rudy was asked about Modi’s popularity, he turned circumspect and replied: “We feel good about it. He is a very popular leader. The issue of the PM candidate will be firmed up by our core committee. When it happens, we will let you know.”