Sushma Swaraj, Jaitley in election panel headed by Modi

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The BJP Friday announced its election campaign team for the 2014 polls under Narendra Modi’s stewardship with an 11-member central election campaign committee under him.

    The announcement was a clear signal of the Gujarat chief minister’s possible projection as prime ministerial candidate. The central election campaign committee is to include Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and three chief ministers.

    The party also formed 20 sub-committees, under the central election campaign committee, to work on a host of tasks including reaching out to new and young voters and preparing manifesto for the next Lok Sabha polls.

    The announcement of members of national campaign committee for 2014 Lok Sabha polls came over a month after Modi was appointed its chief at the party’s conclave in Goa.

    The committee will work under guidance of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, senior party leader Lal Krishna Advani and party president Rajnath Singh.

    Making the announcement, Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Ananth Kumar said that former party presidents Murli Manohar Joshi, Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari will also be members of the national central campaign committee.

    Its other members include general secretaries Ananth Kumar, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Ram Lal and three chief ministers – Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh and Manohar Parrikar.

    The presence of Sushma Swaraj in the panel is being considered significant as she is seen as possible prime ministerial candidates and there were apprehensions about her agreeeing to work under Modi.

    Jaitley, too, is considered a possible prime ministerial candidate. Advani does not have any functional responsibility and will be guiding the panel.

    The BJP Friday also signalled its intentions to be “in election mode” for the Lok Sabha polls by forming panels on key aspects related to the election.

    The manifesto committee will be headed by Murli Manohar Joshi. Gadkari will head the panel to prepare vision document.

    Sushma Swaraj and Jaitley will together head the publicity committee which also has party general secretary Amit Shah as its member.

    The panel to formulate a charge-sheet against the United Progressive Alliance government will be headed by Gopinath Munde and Ravi Shankar Prasad, the party’s deputy leaders in the parliament.

    The committee on rallies will be headed by Ananth Kumar and on parliamentary seat conferences by Thawar Chand Gehlot.

    The party also formed a panel to reach out to sections such as farmers and artisans which will be headed by party general secretary Murlidhar Rao.

    The campaign initiative to reach out to new voters will be headed by Amit Shah.

    The party also formed panels on traditional campaign, intellectual conferences, special contact campaign, election machinery, information communication campaign, literature preparation, programme and transport, feedback from people, north-east campaign, election commission and legal affairs and booth committee coordination.

    Party sources said that upcoming polls in four states were the immediate priority for the party and Modi was unlikely to projected prime ministerial candidate before that.

    They said that a decision on projecting a prime ministerial candidate could be taken later.

    The announcements had an evident stamp of Modi, who is known to work in a style to avoid ambiguity in decision making.

    Sources said that the announcements were delayed as some senior leaders had reservations over “reporting to Modi”.

    A party leader later told IANS that it would be wrong to assume that the team will be reporting to Modi but working under his stewardship.

    The announcements followed protracted discussions between senior party leaders who in turn had talks with RSS, the ideological mentor of BJP.

    The RSS had last month help resolve crisis in the BJP after Advani had resigned from party posts a day after elevation of Modi.