Like a long distance runner who "kicks" too early and fades away at the finish, has Narendra Modi's three-day fast lost him the bid for the NDA's PM candidate?
Two of The Times of India Group's newspapers had different views on the subject in their news analyses, with The Economic Times on Tuesday saying that the Gujarat chief minister's attempt had "backfires as key allies frown at the idea". However, the next day, The Times of India 's news analysis was nowhere as definitive and said that both Modi and LK Advani were still "gauging" their prime ministerial prospects -adding however, that these attempts threatened to "derail the BJP's focus on price rise and corruption".
ET's news analysis in its closely read political pages said that Modi's fast was aimed at "smoothening the rough edges of his political persona and marshalling support for catapulting him to the national stage". However, it said that his "limitations" in becoming the anchor of an anti-Congress coalition had been "revealed" given the opposition to him from JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar; moreover, Modi's fast had added to the friction in the BJP's alliance with the Shiv Sena. Pointing out that the BJP would require powerful regional players for realizing its national ambitions, the newspaper concluded that "if the current mood is anything to go by, only a more reconciling personality can emerge as an acceptable NDA leader".
In contrast, however, TOI 's news analysis on Wednesday --"LK yatra, Modi show cast shadow on BJP executive" --was nowhere as definitive, and merely quoted BJP sources as admitting that the fast had been a "distraction the party could do without". The article did not write off Modi as a potential PM candidate from the NDA, but did say that his bid to break from the pack in the BJP's prime ministerial race "seems too hasty, just as the sudden sadhbhavna makeover, seems unconvincing".
The article instead concentrated on both Modi's and Advani's plans casting a shadow on the BJP's attempt to keep the spotlight on Congress's weak spots like graft, inflation, terrorism - issues which it had earlier calculated, would find broad support from non-UPA parties ranging from the Left to regional outfits.