Modi meets Advani, steps up discussions over government formation

New Delhi (IANS): BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi Sunday met senior party leader L.K. Advani as well as other leaders including from alliance partners as part of consultations aimed at formation of the new NDA government.

Modi, who steered the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance to a thumping victory in the Lok Sabha election, met Advani at the latter’s residence here.

The meeting was apparently to signal that Advani was being kept informed of key decisions and his wishes would be ascertained about his role in the new government. The two had also met at the BJP’s parliamentary board meeting Saturday.

There has been speculation that Advani may be offered the post of the Lok Sabha speaker but party leaders said that the patriarch may be keen on a more active political role.

Advani had initially signalled his differences over the party’s decision to elevate Modi as the party’s lead campaigner for the Lok Sabha elections but had later reconciled to the decision.

As Modi held discussions, several BJP leaders also went to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) office in the capital. However, its spokesperson Ram Madhav as well as BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu maintained that the organisation will have no role in the formation of the union cabinet.

Sources said Modi held discussions with his close aide Amit Shah, party general secretary J.P. Nadda, former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yedyurappa and Bihar in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan.

Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag, and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje also met Modi, as well as Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who won the lone parliamentary seat in his state.

BJP president Rajnath Singh also met a number of leaders of the National Democratic Alliance, including National Peoples Party chief and former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma.

A meeting of BJP parliamentary party has been called Tuesday but the party has not decided a date for Modi to be sworn in as prime minister.

Modi has a delicate task of forming a government when the BJP has got a majority in the Lok Sabha on its own for the first time.

The ministers and their portfolios have to be decided in consultation with senior leaders, the party’s internal matrix and relative seniority of various leaders, as regional aspirations have also to be taken into consideration.

Also the representation from NDA partners like Shiv Sena, Telugu Desam Party, Shiromani Akali Dal and Lok Janshakti Party has to be factored in.

There has been speculation about the role of the RSS, the ideological fountainhead of BJP, in the process of government formation as it has played a role in sorting out the party’s internal tensions but Naidu as well Madhav ruled it out.

“The question does not arise. The Sangh never interferes in such matters,” Naidu said when asked about the role the RSS in formation of new government.

“We are swayamsevaks. We come here to the Sangh headquarters to meet our seniors. That is part of our life.

“There is nothing big about it. This is a task of the BJP, and its leadership is competent enough to take its decisions after consultations among themselves,” he said after a meeting with RSS leaders at the organisation’s office here.

Madhav, who was in Jaipur, said the Sangh has not given any guidelines to the BJP or to Modi.

“The RSS never keeps any remote control to perform any role in politics and government,” he said.

Besides Naidu, Kalraj Mishra, Pradhan, Gopinath Munde, Harsh Vardhan and Rajiv Pratap Rudy were among BJP leaders who visited the RSS office.