New Delhi, Feb 4: Concerned over divisions within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on the issue of candidature of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for the post of prime minister, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh on Monday made a "final appeal" to his party leaders not to speak on it.
"I want to humbly appeal to the BJP workers and leaders that there should be no statement from them on who will be 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 said.
Singh's comments come in the wake of demands from BJP leaders such as Ram Jethmalani and Yashwant Sinha that Modi should be the party's PM candidate. Other leaders have also reacted in the media to the debate leading to spilling out of the differences over the issue within the NDA.
"Whether to speak, who will speak or not speak, what he will say (on such an issue) is all decided by the Central Parliamentary Board. So if any question is asked by the media, then all leaders should say that a final decision on the issue will be taken by the Central Parliamentary Board," he said.
Singh had issued a similar directive earlier but it seems to have had little impact on the BJP leaders. "I am making this appeal as our leaders usually behave within the prescribed limits and such comments hurt everybody. I am not going to make this appeal that I am making, again," he said.
The stern warning has come against the backdrop of Janata Dal (United) (JD-U) openly opposing Modi's candidature and ally Shiv Sena expressing support for Sushma Swaraj for the post of prime minister. BJP is said to be under pressure from Sangh Parivar affiliates such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to declare Modi as the PM candidate but the party's top brass is reportedly divided on the issue.