Rahul takes on Left, Jaitley backs Modi as future PM (Political Roundup)

April 25th, 2009 - 10:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) With five days to go for the third phase of India’s general elections, the Congress and the Left got into a war of words Saturday while Arun Jaitley became the second Bharatiya Janata Party leader to endorse Narendra Modi as a prime ministerial candidate in the future.
In Kolkata, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi criticised the performance of the Left Front government of West Bengal but said at the same time that after the polls, there could be discussions with the Left parties on forming the next government, which would be conducted by his party’s “senior leaders”.

“I saw the statistics on NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and I was shocked. There are places where lakhs of job cards are being given but only five-six families have jobs. I have seen a better situation in Uttar Pradesh. It (the NREGA scheme) does not seem to be running here.

He also likened Bengal’s western district of Purulia to backward districts like Kalahandi in Orissa and those in Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh.

Sitaram Yechury, politburo member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) that leads the Left Front, reacted to Rahul Gandhi’s criticism by asking: “Why are the people continuing to repose faith in the Left? If you say they are doing so for the wrong reasons, then it is tantamount to insulting the people of Bengal.”

Meanwhile, a day after BJP leader Arun Shourie plumped for Gujarat Chief Minister Modi to be the man for the top job after the present prime ministerial hopeful Advani, the party’s powerful general secretary Arun Jaitley said the same.

“Gujarat under the leadership of Modi has emerged as a role model for India and we will be happy if Modi gets the top job some day,” Jaitley told IANS.

Shourie, speaking in Ahmedabad Friday, said that the state had an opportunity to pick two prime ministers, L.K. Advani contesting from state capital Gandhinagar, in 2009 and Modi thereafter.

Asked why the party was now talking of the next prime ministerial candidate after Advani when the 2009 elections are still on, Jaitley told IANS: “There is nothing ‘now’ about it. If the media asks a question… I will be happy if Narendrabhai becomes the prime minister some day.

“The problem is more at your (the media) end than our end,” he said with a laugh, and added: “The media asked a question to Arun Shourie and he said that. Now you people say ‘Jaitley backs Shourie’.”

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