New Delhi/Panaji: BJP president Rajnath Singh on Sunday announced that Narendra Modi will be the chairman of BJP’s election campaign committee for 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

"I want to give you significant information. ...I have announced (at the National Executive) that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will be the chairman of the BJP election campaign committee for Lok Sabha 2014 polls, " party President Rajnath Singh said.

The announcement was made in a terse statement by Singh who was flanked by Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, former president M Venkaiah Naidu, general secretary Ananth Kumar among others. No questions were taken at the media interaction.

The decision to appoint 63-year-old Modi came against the backdrop of LK Advani, who is said to be strongly opposed to the elevation of Modi, keeping away from the meeting.

Several other leaders including Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Uma Bharati and Shatrughan Sinha, who are also said to be reportedly having reservations on Modi's elevation, also kept away from the Executive meeting.

After two days of deliberations and dilemma, the party appears to have taken the plunge by plumping for Modi in a crucial role, ignoring reservations from leaders like Advani, the tallest leader after Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Singh said all parties view elections as a challenge and BJP also viewed the coming Lok Sabha elections as a challenge and Modi's elevation was done keeping in mind the need to achieve victory.

"We are absolutely sure that the Congress-led UPA government has lost the confidence of the people and are confident that the BJP will be voted to power in the 2014 elections," Singh added.

The party also sent out a message to alliance partner JD (U) which has objections to projection of Modi as BJP's Prime Ministerial face, saying the party does not need any certificate from anyone about who is secular and who is not. BJP spokesman Syed Shahnawaz Hussain said the Gujarat Chief Minister is as "secular" as any other leader in the party and asserted that parties will ally with the party when it reaches close to power.

To a question about JD (U)’s opposition to Modi, he said, "We do not need certificate from anybody about who is secular and who is not... In BJP, all are secular and nobody is communal...How can one be secular (in BJP) and another not be secular?"

Will work for ‘Congress free India’: Modi

After being named chairman of the BJP campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Gujaraj Chief Minister Narendra Modi vowed to work for a "Congress-free India".

"Senior leaders have reposed faith in me. We will leave no stone unturned for Congress Mukt Bharat Nirman (Congress-free national development). Thanks for support and blessings," tweeted Modi.

"Spoke to Advani ji on the phone. He gave me his blessings. Honoured and extremely grateful to receive his blessings," the Gujarat Chief Minister tweeted.


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