The Bharatiya Janata Party may further delay the announcement of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the party's Prime Ministerial candidate till the assembly elections to Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan are over.
Top party sources said though discussions are on in BJP on the issue, there is a view that announcing Modi as the PM candidate before the assembly polls may not be a good idea.
The reluctance to anoint Modi as the PM candidate stems mainly from the party's anxiety to insulate him from criticism in the event of the results of the assembly elections going against the party.
"In case we lose say two of the four states, it will reflect badly on Modi as our political adversaries will blame it on him," a senior BJP leader said.
Though BJP is confident of victory in Congress-ruled Rajasthan and to a great extent in Madhya Pradesh, the chances are slim in Chhattisgarh and quite bleak in Delhi, according to party sources.
Much will also depend on whether Congress will go for early Lok Sabha polls. BJP does not want to announce Modi's candidature very close to the general elections either and would like the message to go out loud and clear to the people.
"However, it is highly unlikely that Congress will go for early polls as there is a strong anti-incumbency against it at the moment," a BJP leader said.
The main opposition feels Congress would like to reap the benefits of the Food Security Act and Direct Benefit Transfer as well as other schemes before it faces the electorate.
However, there is a strong opinion in BJP that the party should declare the PM candidate ahead of the polls.
"Since 1996, in every Lok Sabha election, we have announced the PM candidate," the sources said.
Meanwhile, BJP distanced itself from two posters that came up in the city depicting only Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi with the slogan "new thinking, new hope" and said these hoardings have not been authorised by the party.
Senior BJP leaders said the campaign material and posters have not yet been prepared and there is no plan as of now to project only the Gujarat Chief Minister on them.
"These hoardings may have come up due to some enthusiastic supporters of Modi. BJP has not decided to put up Modi posters to test any public response," a senior BJP leader said.