Narendra Modi gets a grip on BJP leadership

OppJaitley, Swaraj, Sibal at Rashtrapati Bhavan Friday

A little over a month after Narendra Modi was named the BJP's 2014 poll campaign panel chief, the party Friday underlined his authority over its second generation leaders as it announced the formation of the central election campaign committee (CECC).

Reporting to Modi in the CECC are leaders of the opposition in Parliament Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, former party presidents Murli Manohar Joshi, Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari, and chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh and Manohar Parrikar.

Other parliamentary board members Ananth Kumar, Ramlal and Thawar-chand Gehlot, too will work under Modi as members of the CECC. The only two active leaders in the party who will not be Modi's subordinates are party president Rajnath Singh and veteran leader L K Advani.

Related: Gadkari, Sidhu to oversee BJP poll campaign in Delhi

"He (Modi) is the chairman of the central election campaign committee. Under his leadership we will be moving forward. Atal, Advani and Rajnath Singh are our top leaders, so the entire committee will work under their guidance," senior leader Ananth Kumar told reporters when asked if the entire top leadership barring Singh and Advani would report to Modi as CECC members.

However, some party insiders claimed that Modi had been partially restrained in the exercise as he had been saddled with senior leaders in the CECC that will examine proposals and plans of 19 sub-committees that have been assigned election campaign responsibilities.

These sub-committees will report to the CECC.

"Whenever a sub-committee has finalised any plan, it will have to seek the consent of the central election campaign committee where almost the entire parliamentary board is present. This will take some freedom away from Modi as everyone will have a say in changing any plan. Modi should have been given a free hand," said the chairman of one of the sub-committees, ruing the fact that Modi will have to take everyone on board.

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