The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is not willing to back Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party. As a result of this, the BJP will not announce its prime ministerial candidate yet, despite pressure to do so from within the party and the National Democratic Alliance. The RSS plays a key role in such decisions.

According to a BJP source, the RSS resents Modi for the “cold war” he conducted with Sanjay Joshi, an RSS pracharak. It resulted in the latter’s expulsion from the national executive of the BJP and later his resignation from the party. “Before the Gujarat elections, some RSS leaders in fact worked against Modi in a few pockets in the state. This forced the Chief Minister to air-dash to Nagpur to seek the ‘blessings’ of RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, in the hope that he would ‘control’ the RSS workers on the ground,” he said.

“The RSS is also of the view that announcing the name of a prime ministerial candidate may be detrimental to the BJP’s prospects in the 2014 general elections. It feels that keeping the name under the wraps, at least for the next few months, will be a better option to avoid controversies,” said a senior leader associated with an RSS-supported movement.

“Announcing the name of Narendra Modi as PM candidate will create a division within the NDA. As it is, there are very little chances of the BJP coming to power on its own, so it cannot take the risk of losing its partners such as the Janata Dal (United), which has reservations about Modi’s name. Moreover, any such move will not take on board the entire party. There is no consensus within the BJP on any one name. The announcement may annoy a major section within the party,” the BJP leader said.

There has been pressure within the BJP to announce its PM candidate, especially in the wake of Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to vice-president’s post in the Congress. While some are pitching for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a section within the NDA has started advocating for Sushma Swaraj.

“The last time, the party fought the general elections with L.K. Advani as the prime ministerial candidate. However, the result was disastrous. The party would not like to go ahead with the same approach this time,” the BJP leader said, adding “even the Congress has not declared its PM candidate”.

When asked, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Why is everybody, except the BJP, worried about BJP’s PM candidate? There is no hurry. The party will take the right decision at the right moment.”

The Shiv Sena has asked the BJP to start the process of consultations within the NDA for its prime ministerial candidate, though it has said that Bal Thackeray had suggested Sushma Swaraj’s name for the post. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has backed the candidature of Modi. Within the BJP, two MPs, Yashwant Sinha and Ram Jethmalani, have openly advocated that Modi be declared as PM candidate.

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