Veteran leader L K Advani today kept alive the suspense over his intentions of becoming BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate in the next elections,saying a decision would be taken by the party when the time arrived.
Who will become the Prime Minister will be decided by the party when the elections come. This decision is not being taken now. There are three years to go for the election. It is another matter that this government is working in a manner that it appears it may fall anytime, Advani told reporters in reply to a question.
The senior leader was interacting with the media a day before he begins his Jan Chetna Yatra from Sitabdiara in Bihar for clean politics and good governance and against corruption.
People feel whether they have to bear this government for three more years… The fact is that the decision as to who will be the leader will taken by the party. We do not have a dearth of leaders, Advani said.
Though Advani has not said he is in the race for Prime Ministership,by not ruling out that his yatra could be aimed at keeping him in the fray,he has kept the issue alive.
His statement in Nagpur recently — soon after meeting RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat was an indication that he was not in the race by commenting the RSS,Jan Sangh,BJP,fellow party workers and the country had given him was much more than the Prime Minister’s post.
Advani’s decision to undertake this yatra has reportedly antagonised some of his senior party colleagues who were eyeing the PM candidate post. Most prominent among them is Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Advani plans to focus on issues of blackmoney,Lokpal,judicial accountability and electoral reforms during the yatra.
Advani refuted reports in some sections of the media that he had talked to Modi yesterday and sorted out the differences.
Party has to deal with a lot of questions and it deals with them. I was surprised myself (to hear this report). I have not talked to Modi in the last two three days and people are writing all kinds of things. I would request the media to cross-check facts before writing, he said.
Advani maintained he did talk to Modi some days ago and the latter told him he would be present when the yatra entered Gujarat.
The 83-year old leader will start his yatra tomorrow from Jayprakash Narayan’s birthplace. He said during the yatra he would emphasise on the issue of blackmoney stashed by Indians abroad and the need to bring it back to the country.
I came to know that the government has got the names of those Indians who have kept their money in tax havens abroad. Political parties should create pressure on the
government to reveal these names. The government should also come out with a White Paper on the issue, Advani said.
He lauded civil society for raising the issue of corruption and black money and starting a debate around it.
I salute civil society members for raising the issue of blackmoney and corruption. They have spread awareness about these issues. My aim is to spread it further, Advani said,adding that civil society can perform a role only up to a point and beyond it the political parties have to take over.
The health of democracy depends on political parties,and their clean politics. My emphasis will be to spread awareness about good governance and clean politics, he said.
Advani hit out at the UPA government,alleging there was a lack of leadership within the dispensation and this had led to scams and price rise.
There has been an ethical decline in UPA’s conduct of government affairs and of politics and this has been the principle reason for the anger of the people against the
government and their skepticism of Parliamentary democracy itself, he said.
Advani charged that the government does not want to share names of those Indians having Swiss accounts and there are reportedly some whose names the government wants to hide.
He insisted through his yatra he wants to reach out those in parts of the country who do not attend rallies and do not have access to television.
Asked if Team Anna was challenging democracy — a reference to Arvind Kejriwal’s statement that Anna Hazare was above Parliament — he said,I do not know in what context the statement was made… I think the Parliament is above all… I don’t think they are challenging democracy as then they would not have come to us to discuss the Lokpal Bill.
He insisted the civil society movement had created an atmosphere for probity in public life.