BJP leaders meet RSS functionaries

Top BJP leaders, including L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj, Thursday met senior RSS functionaries against the backdrop of some demands from within the party for declaring Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate.

Rajnath Singh, who was last week elected president of Bharatiya Janata Party, however, described the meeting as “routine”.

He said such meetings take place every three months.

Party Sources said Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh functionaries present at the meeting included Bhaiyyaji Joshi and Suresh Soni. Advani left the meeting early.

According to sources, moves to revive the Ram Janambhoomi issue were also discussed.

Asked about demands for declaring the party’s prime ministerial candidate, Rajnath Singh said any such decision will be taken by the party’s parliamentary board.

Dismissing suggestions of pressure from RSS in party appointments, he said: “We have never discussed who should be office bearers of BJP or in the government in such meetings.”

He said the parliamentary board had not yet been reconstituted.

There is speculation in the party circles that Modi will be made a member of the parliamentary board and appointed head of the campaign panel.

Rajnath Singh had Wednesday called upon party leaders to observe restraint in their statements.

Party leaders Yashwant Sinha, C.P. Thakur and suspended party leader Ram Jethmalani are among those who have suggested that Modi should be declared prime ministerial candidate.

There is no unanimity amongst BJP allies in the National Democratic Alliance on projecting Modi as prime ministerial candidate.