A crucial strategy session of the BJP began in New Delhi today, less than an hour after Sonia Gandhi, in her inaugural address at a massive Congress meet, overruled demands from her vociferous colleagues to anoint her son Rahul as the party’s prime ministerial candidate. This will be last meeting of the BJP’s national executive before the Lok Sabha polls, likely to be held by May.
A buoyant BJP saw in Mrs Gandhi’s announcement a tacit admission that the Congress vice-president would not be able to pose any meaningful challenge to their prime ministerial face Narendra Modi in the general election. Mr Modi, alongwith other senior leaders of the BJP, will be camping in the capital for the next three days to hammer out a strategy for wresting power from the Congress-led UPA coalition at the Centre after a gap of 10 years.
BJP chief Rajnath Singh said the Congress decision that Mr Gandhi will lead the Congress campaign for those elections but will not be the official PM candidate “indicated that they have accepted Mr Modi will be Prime Minister.”
“I think it is a recognition of reality since they know they are not going to form the government. Then why the need for announcing a PM candidate? I think, any party which takes a decision of this kind weighs the realities,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley added.
He contended that Mr Gandhi would fall short in a comparison with Mr Modi. His party colleague Ravi Shankar Prasad added, “They know that the Congress is in for a major defeat. That is why the Congress, which is definitely going to lose, did not want to make the head of the Gandhi family as its prime ministerial candidate.”
At the meeting that began today at the NDMC Convention Centre, the BJP will finalise how it will attack the Congress on its shortcomings on the political and economic fronts. It is expected to focus on scams and corruption and the government’s “policy paralysis.” Leaders will also present the BJP’s vision statement and discuss outreach programmes like the Modi-for-PM fund.