Hindu party elevates controversial leader Modi

NEW DELHI (AP) - The main opposition Hindu nationalist party has elevated Narendra Modi, a deeply divisive figure in Indian politics, to the party's top decision-making body with his supporters believing he could become prime minister in national elections next year.

However, Rajnath Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party president, did not name Mr Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate on Sunday apparently because of opposition from some allies.

Mr Modi currently heads the BJP government in western Gujarat state. He is accused by rights groups and survivors of not doing enough to stop the violence and even stoking it when marauding mobs of Hindus killed and burned their way through Muslim neighbourhoods in Gujarat state in 2001, leaving more than 1,100 people dead.

The Congress party currently leads India's national government.