Indian media: BJP's poll strategy

Narendra Modi
Image caption Media feel Narendra Modi's growing prominence has divided the BJP

Media in India are discussing the main opposition party's campaign strategy for general elections due next year.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday appointed controversial politician Narendra Modi as the head of its election campaign committee at a meeting in Goa.

Mr Modi, who is tipped as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, often divides political opinions in India due to his controversial past.

The Gujarat chief minister is accused of doing little to stop anti-Muslim riots in 2002 which left more than 1,000 dead; he is also credited with making the state economically prosperous.

Most newspapers feel Mr Modi will be under tremendous pressure because his appointment does not have the support of senior leader LK Advani.

"The party's patriarch LK Advani made his displeasure at the proposal to elevate Mr Modi so clear that he chose to stay away from the Goa conclave," said the Hindustan Times in an editorial.

The paper added that it was "unlikely that Mr Advani will take this snub lying down".

"The situation bristles with irony, starting with the fact that a man with such a presumed fan following as Mr Modi could not find universal acceptance in his own party," The Hindu says.

The Indian Express too feels that Mr Modi may find it difficult to win over everyone in his party, but acknowledges that his appointment "will fill the leadership vacuum" in the BJP.

"In the BJP, this is a time of change. The party that seemed to lose its way ever since it lost the 2004 election… has now handed over the keys to a younger leader who projects an aura of decisiveness and deals in muscular certitudes," the paper adds.

The BJP, however, has denied any rift in the party over Mr Modi's appointment.

'Delhi belly'

The dreaded "Delhi belly" may no longer be a concern for travellers to India as Cambridge University researchers have developed a pill to prevent the digestive illness, reports.

The diarrhoea-like condition mostly occurs after eating contaminated street food, the website adds.

And bringing further cheer to travellers, the Indian railways is set to unveil a new service to ensure greater cleanliness in trains.

Passengers will now be able to register complaints via text messages if they find their coaches unclean, and housekeeping staff will then take prompt action, The Indian Express reports.

Meanwhile, Indian-administered Kashmir is witnessing brisk business as holidaymakers are flocking to the valley in increasing numbers, reports the Deccan Herald.

"The flip side, however, is that hotels are running out of space to accommodate them. In Srinagar alone, there are only 25,000 rooms available, while the demand during peak season is for more than 100,000 rooms a day," the paper adds.

The Tribune says that India has "a fresh opportunity to demand amends from the British government" for the 1913 Jallianwalla Bagh massacre after the UK agreed to pay compensation to the victims of the colonial violence in Kenya.

The paper sees similarities between Kenya's Mau Mau revolt in the 1950s and India's freedom struggle as thousands died in both.

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