Modi’s Gujarat Meet Tomorrow Triggers Talk of Search for Successor

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Gandhinagar – Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, has called a meeting tomorrow evening of all his party’s state legislators in Gandhinagar, triggering speculation that efforts have begun to find his replacement as the head of the Gujarat government.

Sources in the BJP, however, said that the meeting is routine – they say Mr Modi meets state law-makers on alternate Tuesdays, and that the agenda will include an estimate of the results of Gujarat’s 26 parliamentary seats.

Mr Modi is serving his fourth term as Gujarat Chief Minister; he is contesting his first national election from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, which votes today, and Vadodara in Gujarat, which has already voted in the mammoth nine-phase election. If he is elected from both, he is likely, sources say, to surrender the Vadodara constituency.

Opinion polls show Mr Modi will lead the BJP to the maximum seats in the national election, but they differ on whether the party will get a clear majority. That will determine whether new allies will be needed to allow the BJP to form the government.

Mr Modi’s possible successors within Gujarat include Anandiben Patel, currently the Revenue Minister, Saurabh Patel, who is Industries Minister, and Bikhu Dalsania, an organisational secretary of the BJP in Gujarat.

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