Sources say he has suggested that the Gujarat Chief Minister be appointed the “convenor” and not the “chairman” of the party’s election committee for the national polls. That means Mr Modi would not preside over election meetings; BJP chief Rajnath Singh would.
Mr Advani is the captain of a club of heavy-weights who have refused to attend the BJP’s national executive in Goa to protest against the likelihood of Mr Modi being made its election chief.
Mr Advani is sick not angry, reiterated the party president on record. Mr Singh also promised the Goa conclave of 300 leaders that “everyone will go home happy, energised and enthusiastic.”
That will take work. Sources say the BJP is wary of declaring a big promotion for Mr Modi in the absence of Mr Advani.
The BJP chief is reportedly trying hard to negotiate consensus within his party and its allies over Mr Modi’s immediate future.
The BJP’s parent body, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS has said it is imperative for Mr Modi to be rewarded for his massive popularity within party workers, powered by his ability to deliver results. After being re-elected for a fourth term as Chief Minister in December last year, he won six new seats in important by-elections this week.
Mr Advani is reportedly convinced that if Mr Modi is the party’s face, the oxygen in the room will be sucked up by a debate on the chief minister’s secularism and weaken the BJP’s attack on the ruling Congress over widespread corruption in the government.
In 2002, during Mr Modi’s first term in office, communal riots killed hundreds of Muslims. His critics say he did not do enough to protect them.