Disgruntled Bharatiya Janata Party leader Keshubhai Patel must reconcile himself to the prospect of his arch-rival and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi bagging the top job again if the party wins the assembly election scheduled for December 12, a senior leader told rediff.com.
Referring to the tussle between the two powerful leaders on the issue of allocation seats to their favourites, he said that Modi had succeeded in sidelining the former chief minister.
"Keshubhai must realise that Modi is a hardcore member of the Sangh Parivar, which is backing him completely. We are confident that the caretaker chief minister will head the state government after they [the polls] are concluded," another top leader of the party, close to the RSS top brass, said.
He added the tussle between Modi and Patel would be ironed out by the high command.
"Modi replaced Patel with the concurrence of the party high command. That is that. The RSS had a major say in the matter and no BJP leader, howsoever influential, can upset this," he said.
He contended that the distribution of tickets before elections was a major irritant in all parties and it was not unusual for senior party leaders to try and corner as many seats for their respective faction.
He did not think that Modi's [initial] defiance of the Election Commission had antagonised Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had always been keen that his party members strictly abide by the Constitution.
He, however, conceded that the RSS had a delicate task in reining in the strident Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which is not only critical of Vajpayee but also his deputy Lal Kishenchand Advani, who has been its latest target.
"The RSS has the task of ensuring that the Vajpayee government runs without much problems and at the same time our Hindutva ideology remains undiluted," he added.
"Of course, [the constituents of] the Sangh Parivar are unanimous that the Vajpayee government has to survive, that is of paramount importance. But the prime minister too has to ensure that his government does not veer too far from the objectives and ideals of the Sangh," he said.
On the issue of Advani asserting that India could never be a Hindu State and emphasising that the country's minority would be protected, he said, "Conducting political campaigns and running a government are two distinctly different things."
He agreed that political campaigns at times entailed harsh political rhetoric in order to entice the electorate.
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