Amid Modi talk, Rajnath for restraint, ‘patience’

Rajnath Singh

With the clamour for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to be declared the BJP's prime ministerial candidate growing, party president Rajnath Singh Wednesday issued a veiled warning, cautioning party leaders to observe restraint in their statements and to keep patience.

"Party workers should work for strengthening the party. They should observe restraint in their statements. Leaders should maintain good speech and conduct... They should have patience," Singh said.

Earlier, after Yashwant Sinha's statement backing Modi for the top job, Singh had said that the BJP parliamentary board would decide on the issue.

Sources claimed that the BJP leadership has taken a grim view of the "indiscipline" in the form of partymen speaking out of turn on issues over which it is yet to take a call.

"Most of the senior party leaders have found the recent utterances over an unresolved issue unnecessary. Some are learnt to have said that these bordered on indiscipline," confided a party leader.

The party leadership is said to be also apprehensive that such statements have triggered an untimely and unnecessary debate that may be counter-productive. Modi himself may not gain from the growing chatter about his "communal" credentials.

Singh's statement is being seen as an attempt by the party leadership to arrest such future statements and to bring attention back to crucial organisational issues that need urgent attention in the wake of the series of Assembly elections this year.

Singh has begun consultations with senior leaders on this matter. While Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley met Singh Sunday, the BJP president Wednesday held talks with Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. Singh was learnt to have also touched base with former party president M Venkaiah Naidu.

One of the immediate issues that needs finalisation is the schedule for the party's National Council meeting, which must ratify Singh's appointment as party chief. Party sources revealed that the BJP core group will meet Friday to finalise the venue and schedule for the meeting.

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