The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday put to rest the doubts about the dissent within the party over Narendra Modi's polarising personality by naming him as the prime ministerial candidate for the Lok Sabha elections 2014.
BJP president Rajnath Singh made the announcement after the party's parliamentary board meeting on Friday despite disagreement from some of the senior party leaders, especially LK Advani.
"The BJP has a tradition of declaring its candidate for PM. The BJP's parliamentary party board has decided that Mr Narendra Modi will be our prime ministerial candidate in 2014," Singh was quoted as saying by NDTV after the meeting.
Party workers and supporters of Modi celebrated the announcement across Gujarat state and several parts of the country by setting off fire crackers and distributing sweets.
Flanked by senior party leaders like Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Murli Manohar Joshi, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar, Modi told reporters after the announcement that he "seek the blessings of millions of Indians to join our effort to steer the country out of these perilous days."
It was obvious that the BJP would announce Narendra Modi as it prime ministerial candidate despite dissent from some senior party leaders, after the NDA allies Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal extended their support, giving the final push-through.
However, senior party leader LK Advani, who had repeatedly expressed objection over elevating Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate, didn't attend the crucial meeting on Friday.
"I spoke to you about my dilemma and also expressed my disappointment at the way BJP is functioning. I have decided that I will not come for the Parliamentary Board meeting," wrote the 85-year-old senior BJP leader to party president Rajnath Singh ahead of the meeting.