The RSS leadership is planning to continue with Nitin Gadkari as the party's president for it wants the latter to lead the party during the next Lok Sabha polls. The RSS is also looking to decide on its 'face' to project for the big polls. But they why the delay in announcing Modi's name as its prime ministerial candidate?
According to the RSS sources, it is not easy to announce Modi as the PM candidate for both the party and alliance are divided on the issue for quite some time now. The BJP itself is in a shambles and struggling to reach a unison while in the alliance, the JD(U) has strong reservations against projecting Modi as the next PM.
There are other potential challenges to Modi as well. A number of important states are set to go to the polls this year, including the two BJP-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The other two important states going to polls this year are Delhi and Rajasthan, both ruled by the Congress.
Karnataka is another important state going to the polls this year. The outcome of the results in these states will decide the future of the BJP and NDA in the national politics and the chances of Modi making an impact on the national politics will depend to a large extent on these results. It was learnt that Modi would campaign for the party in all these states.
Victory of BJP in at least three of the five states will help the BJP make a big mark on the national scene and benefit Modi's cause. But at the same time, if the saffron party does well in states like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, then the chif ministers of those states, namely, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh, will play a big role and like Modi, they will also be bgging their third electoral victory.
The anti-Modi camp in the BJP as well as in the BJP then could back those leaders as a more 'secular'. In karnataka, if Jagadish shettar can lead th party to beat all odds and come out with flying colours, one thing will be clear: That is, the BJP's regional bases are getting stronger and the challenge for a weak national leadership to decide on the emerging regional leaders will be big.
There will be challenges to Modi as an administrator as well. The Gujarat CM has been stressing the development model in his state to defeat all sorts of criticism. He has succeeded in extracting praises from the investors and the 'Vibrant Gujarat' summit has helped in deepening his pro-development image. But there are some gray shades as well.
According to a report, the Modi administration had to politely refuse admission to business delegates from Karachi, who had arrived in Gujarat to take part in Vibrant Gujarat, for an angry anti-Pakistan mood is currently prevailing across the nation in the wake of the recent killing and beheading of two Indian soldiers in kashmir and the reported violations of ceasefire by the Pakistani troops.
The RSS, VHP and BJP have been protesting against Pakistan and it is a tough ask for Modi to reconcile two different sets of agenda: one of an administrator and the second, of a member of the saffron camp. This will be a major challenge for him if he eventually becomes the Prime Minister of the country. It will be interesting to see if he will successfully carry out his personalised role as the chief administrator in Gujarat.
Ther is yet another concern. We all know that even though the United Kingdom has decided to lift its ban on Modi, the USA is yet to follow suit. A number of lawmakers in that country have been seeking continuation of ban on Modi and R Nicholas Burns, a former US under secretary of state spoke about religious tolerance and the need to respect diverse faiths at a US-India Business Council meeting where Modi was not present.
Burns, who praised Prime Minister Manmohan singh as the "greatest shining symbol" of the respect India showed to all religions, felt the current administration in Washington was not reconsidering its stand on issuing a visa to Modi.
Head of the business council Ron Sommers, however, praised Modi while Mumbai-based US Consul General Peter Haas had reportedly sough an invitation for the summit. Sommers said: "...the progress in 2013 is stunning..." Modi and his supporters will hope that the USA will not continue to alienate the leader, who has earned accolades from the world over for making significant economic development.
The challenges are many for Modi, the BJP, the NDA and of course, the Sangh Parivar. Both victories and losses in elections scheduled over the next one year before the big poll in 2014 will add to the challenges. Will Modi succeed to defeat the threats within?