INDIAN ELECTION: BJP confident of Modi becoming PM, hold flurry of meetings

Narendra Modi


New Delhi / Ahmedabad (IANS): BJP president Rajnath Singh Wednesday said Narendra Modi will “definitely” be the next prime minister, as top party leaders held a string of meetings two days ahead of vote count.

Rajnath Singh and former party president Nitin Gadkari met party leader Sushma Swaraj, while prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s close aide Amit Shah met Arun Jaitley in the national capital Wednesday morning.

Later in the day, Rajnath Singh, Gadkari and Jaitley flew to Gandhinagar to meet prime ministerial candidate Modi.

Rajnath Singh said it was to discuss the “campaign experiences”.

“It is definite that Modi will become the prime minister,” Rajnath Singh told reporters in Gandhinagar.

The meetings took place amid speculations over the role party veteran L.K. Advani will get in the government to be formed.

Rajnath Singh said a decision in this regard will be taken by top party leaders, but did not make it clear if Advani will be a part of the decision making process.

The BJP appears confident of victory in the 10-phase staggered general election that began April 7 and ended May 12. The millions of votes will be counted Friday.

“There will be a meeting of the party, all senior leaders will be there and a decision will be taken,” the BJP president said.

Gadkari earlier said Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani “are our founder members, our most senior leaders. The party’s parliamentary board will take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time (about Advani)”.

“The guidance of Advaniji is very important,” he added.

Sushma Swaraj on her part described the meetings with Rajnath Singh and Gadkari as “courtesy meet”.

“It is true they had come to meet me but it was purely a courtesy meet. Before the declaration of election results, all of us wanted to meet each other,” Sushma Swaraj said.

Most exit polls have predicted a victory for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the Lok Sabha election.

Asked if talks were being held with BJP’s allies over government formation, Gadkari said: “There are no talks … yet. We have not discussed anything and have not even thought about it.”

He said the party was “confident of (securing) a majority” in the Lok Sabha and those who want to support it were “welcome”.

A party leader, who did not want to be named, said they were expecting Biju Janata Dal (BJD), and AIADMK to come in the alliance later.

The BJP leader also said that NDA would be more or less like what it used to be during the Vajpayee government.

Odisha Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik remained non-committal on supporting a BJP-led central government, but party leader Pravat Tripathi indicated conditional support may be given.

“No talks at all. We have not discussed anything. We have not thought of it yet. Let us wait till the results,” Patnaik said.

Tripathy, however, said: “Keeping in view the opinion of the whole country and the state’s interest, there should be no problem in providing conditional support to NDA to form government at the centre.”