A day after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan hailed L K Advani as BJP’s supreme leader,another voice of support for the party patriarch came today when Shatrughan Sinha described him as the “most seasoned and mature” leader who must be at the “helm of affairs”,putting him at odds with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Sinha also appeared to lend his support to murmurs of discontent in the party over projection of the Gujarat Chief Minister as possible prime ministerial candidate saying if it was done through Parliamentary Board “it would be great”.
“I still maintain that Narendra Modi,though he is very popular… the kind of hype that has been created thanks to media and thanks to all of us,he has been very successful.
“If he has been projected as prime minister after Parliamentary Board meeting,it would be a great thing. But the rider (is) that from our point of view Advani sahab must be at the helm of affairs,” the MP from Patna Sahib told reporters here.
He said Advani was a statesman. “He is the most seasoned,most mature person and to me he has always been the ultimate leader. He is the last person who would ever sulk. He has never demanded the prime ministerial position. We pray that,whoever,is decided as the PM candidate through the Parliamentary Board,must have the blessings of Mr Advani.”
Asked whether Advani should be in the race for prime ministerial candidate,Sinha said,”there could not be a better person than him in terms of statesmanship.
“Advani is,as I said,to me and to most of us,the one who has contributed the maximum in the growth of BJP from 2 seats to almost 200 seats (in the Lok Saba). He cannot be sidelined.”
Sinha’s comments come a day after the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister calling Advani the supreme leader of the BJP and set off on his “Jan Ashirvad Yatra” from Ujjain during which posters have photographs of various leaders but not Modi.
Asked about Sinha’s comments,BJP spokesperson Shah Nawaz Hussain told reporters in Delhi that “we have heard Sinha’s views”.
When party President Rajnath Singh comes back (from his US visit) he will take cognisance of the comments. “I will not comment any further,” he said.
However,JD(U) leader K C Tyagi,whose party snapped ties with BJP recently on the Modi issue,complimented Sinha for his “clear” remarks and said he would congratulate him for it.
Asked whether Advani should not be the PM candidate,Sinha told PTI “who could be a better person for this post from BJP than Advaniji. From two MP party,Advaniji made BJP a party of 200 MPs. He cannot be sidelined. Advaniji must be at the helm of affairs of BJP in 2014 Parliamentary elections.”
He said Modi was very popular because of the hype created by media for him. “We are not a problem in his way. It was I who first took his name for the PM post which elder Yashwant Sinha said. So we two brothers have been in the forefront of making Modi a national leader.”
Sinha was critical of the various committees announced by the party for Team Modi for 2014 elections. “I am not in the team but I am not disappointed. I do not have ‘pad’ (post) but I have the ‘kad’ (height of popularity). People do not know many members of Team Modi but people recognise me.”
“In the hype to make Narendra Modi as Prime Minister many people like me could be sidelined which will not be good for the party. I came to the party at the peak of my film career and BJP was not a big party.”
He said Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to say that rivals were no problem but the problem for the party was from within. “Many leaders are busing doing self goal to the disadvantage of the party.”
Sinha also had a word of praise for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saying he has brought development in the state and provided a new identity.
On being asked that Modi has “almost” been decided as the PM candidate,he said,”almost means that there is a gap between the cup and and the lip. Sometimes the gap between the cup and the lip increases or decreases. This is called almost.”