New Delhi : For all practical purposes former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is out of politics. In fact, since 2009, he has not been seen in public, but as late as last week the BJP’s prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi visited the Vajpayee residence when the campaign ended to seek his blessings.
Now party sources indicate that as he gets ready to become the prime minister, Modi also wants to be the chairman of the National Democratic Alliance. “Having anyone else as the NDA chairman would create two power centres, a Manmohan-Sonia like situation that we have always opposed,” said a senior leader.
The hitch is that in Vajpayee’s absence, the other party veteran, L K Advani, has been functioning as the working chairperson of the NDA. Advani has to relinquish the post for Modi to take over. In a party that talks endlessly about ‘maryada and samman,’ appointing Modi as the NDA chairman could invite some avoidable criticism, point out political observers.
As it is, Modi has constituted a new core group comprising party president Rajnath Singh, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and former president Nitin Gadkari. This group is grappling with the matters of government formation as well as party organisation.
A major problem that has surfaced seems to be the task of finding appropriate roles for Advani, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, and the former president and union minister Murli Manohar Joshi.
All the three biggies have had personal problems with Modi, and as per his reputation he would definitely like to sideline all of them. But now it appears that some explanation would also be needed in the case of Vajpayee as well.