Modi's support in Bihar grows with Shatrughan joining ranks

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Narendra Modi and Shatrughan Sinha
New Delhi, Feb 4: Defying BJP president Rajnath Singh, another Sinha has come in support of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as NDA's prime minister's candidate.

BJP glamour face and party leader from Bihar Shatrughan Sinha has supported Modi candidature by endorsing earlier statement of Yashwanth Sinha. "I fully endorse Yashwant Sinhaji's view of Narendra Modi being our PM candidate," Shatrughan Sinha told a news agency today.

Last month when the clamour for Modi's candidature was growing, Rajnath Singh had issued a veiled warning, cautioning party leaders to observe restraint in their statements. "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 had said.

Today again, Singh made a 'final appeal' to his party leaders not to speak on the issue. "I want to humbly appeal to the BJP workers and leaders that there should be no statement from them on who will the candidate for the prime minister's post. As I have said earlier, the BJP convention is that any decision on the chief ministerial or prime ministerial candidate is taken by the Central Parliamentary Board," he told reporters.

But the film actor seems to ignoring the party bosses. Shatrughan's statement is also significant as JD(U), which is opposing Modi, is a ruling partner in Bihar government and Sinha is a name to reckon with in Bihar. Another Bihar leader CP Thakur has also come in support of Modi.

Meanwhile, Modi will be visiting Kumbh Mela on Thursday (Feb 7) as the VHP holds its Dharam Sansad (congregation) of saints and religious leaders, with a section of saffron brigade pushing for the endorsement of Modi as the PM candidate.

Some VHP leaders are talking about "discussion on VHP's and the saint community's stand on Modi". Officially though, they maintained that it was BJP's matter. The VHP and Modi may have shared an uneasy relationship in Gujarat, but none of the senior leaders, laying the groundwork for the massive show of strength on February 6-7 could deny the man's popularity.

According to central joint secretary of the VHP Vyankatesh Abdeo "people want NaMo, the media want NaMO. Even we agree that he is undoubtedly the most popular face today. But it is for the BJP to decide first (on his ascension)."

For Modi the kumbh visit will be capped by a seat on the central Parliamentary Board.

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