Press trust of india
New York, 21 July
Ruling himself out of the prime ministerial race, BJP President Rajnath Singh today virtually anointed Narendra Modi as its man to the top job if the party comes to power after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP chief also claimed that the party will get more allies nearer the elections and after the polls as well. Developmental issues, rather than the Ram Janambhoomi dispute would dominate the BJP’s poll campaign, he said.
“It’s not necessary that party president should also be a crowd puller and a prime ministerial candidate. I have an assignment to do for my party. I have a job to deliver – that is victory of the party in the 2014 elections,” Mr Singh said at a a Press conference here at the start of his five-day trip to New York and Washington.
“Seven months before the elections, I have nominated Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as Chairman of the party’s Election Campaign Committee. What is unusual in that? We have nominated Modi like other parties do and why read between lines. I have named him as campaign head in view of his image, popularity and commitment to the party,” Mr Singh said.
“He is a crowd puller not only in Gujarat but also in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar    from North to South, East to West. He is one single leader with a national appeal. His popularity will help the party in the elections,” he said.
While the BJP has so far maintained that it was not unduly bothered about denial of an American visa to Mr Modi, Mr Rajnath Singh said the party will appeal to the US Administration to lift the travel ban on him.
Mr Singh said he would take up the issue with US lawmakers in Washington during the week.