"I have told Narendra Modi to come to Delhi on 17th. I will convene the Parliamentary Board meeting on that date to decide the earliest date to hold BJP parliamentary party meet to formally elect Modi as our leader," BJP chief Rajnath Singh told reporters in the national capital on Wednesday night after a three-hour meeting with the party's core group leaders at Modi's residence.
     
The meeting of the parliamentary board, BJP's highest decision-making forum, will also decide what role party senior leaders will play in the next government, Rajnath said and denied that there is any rift between the party leaders on the issue.
      
Replying to a question, he said that the issue of who will become the next Gujarat Chief Minister will be also decided at a meeting of BJP parliamentary board.
      
Besides Rajnath Singh, the core group has Modi, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari.
    
Singh said "I will request all the allies of NDA to extend their support. They have extended their support to us as they are our allies but in their presence, he (Modi) should be formally elected as the leader.”    

BJP sources in the national capital said that Modi will remain here on May 16, the day of counting of votes and will address a public meeting after the results are out.
    
On May 17, Modi will go to Varanasi to express gratitude to the people there and reach Delhi in the afternoon, they added.
    
Rajnath Singh said that NDA and BJP will be getting a clear majority on their own and there was no question of changing their PM candidate.
    
"Why should we believe it (that BJP will fall short of majority)? Exit polls results indicate that BJP-led NDA will get the clear majority. I want to make it clear straight away that Narendra Modi is going to become the next Prime Minister," Singh said to a question if there was a possibility of any other person emerging as the PM candidate if NDA fails to get majority.
    
Replying to a question of taking support from NCP, BJD or AIADMK, Rajnath said, "NDA will welcome the support from more and more people to run such a big country. To run the government, the magic figure of 272 is needed but to run this country, we need the support from all."
    
On being asked about party patriarch L K Advani's role in next government, Singh said, "Who will play what role that will be decided in the parliamentary board meeting."
    
Answering to a question about making Adavani as the next NDA chairperson, Rajnath said "Advani ji is our veteran leader. He is our mentor. Whatever decision we will take, we will take that decision unanimously."
    
On the successor of Modi as chief minister of Gujarat, Singh said "the issue of new Gujarat chief minister will also be decided when I will hold parliamentary board meeting. We have decided to hold that meeting on May 17."

(JPN/Agencies)

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