Advani hints he may not be PM candidate in 2014

September 21st, 2011 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Nagpur, Sep 21 (IANS) Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Wednesday indicated for the first time he may not be the candidate for prime minister’s job in the next general election, provoking the Congress to say there was a war within the main opposition party.

Already 83, the former deputy prime minister made the comments after meeting Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat “to seek blessings” for his (Advani’s) proposed nationwide rath yatra on “clean politics and good governance”.

Advani, who was widely seen as the BJP’s unstated prime ministerial nominee in the 2009 Lok Sabha battle, did not give a categorical “yes” or “no” when he was asked if he was eyeing the top executive post.

Instead, he gave a philosophical answer, saying he had got more from the BJP than anything he could have got from the post of prime minister.

Pressed if the RSS wanted him to make it absolutely clear that he was not in the running for the post of prime minister, Advani said: “There are reports.”

That statement did not amuse the Congress, which said there was “upheaval in BJP” and that there were five to seven prime ministerial candidates in that party.

In contrast, “there is no vacancy for the prime minister’s post” in the Congress, spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

Advani, one of the most experienced leaders in Indian politics, flew to Nagpur Wednesday amid reports that a section of the BJP was miffed at him for announcing the rath yatra next month.

Some BJP leaders complained privately that he had not taken the party into confidence and that it was an attempt by him to portray himself as the prime ministerial candidate.

The RSS, however, clarified that it had no role to play in shaping the BJP’s choice of who a prime minister should be.

“These are issues the BJP decides,” RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said in Nagpur, where the RSS has its headquarters.

Advani said: “I became a swayamsevak, then a member of Jan Sangh and then BJP.

“I feel what I have got from these organisations, from my colleagues, from the country, is much more than (what) the post of prime minister (can give).”

Advani said Bhagwat has given his full support to his yatra, likely to start Oct 11.

The BJP leader said he had also come to Nagpur to inquire after the health of party president Nitin Gadkari, who underwent weight reduction surgery earlier this month.

Advani chose the occasion to denounce the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for a string of corruption scandals that have seen politicians and business executives go to jail.

Terming the 2008 cash-for-vote episode in parliament as the “dirtiest scandal in the history of India”, Advani said: “It has not only put a blot on the political system but on democracy.”

Advani said Gadkari would announce the schedule of his yatra and it would conclude before the winter session of parliament.

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