A day after Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is competent to become the prime minister, senior BJP leaders Gopinath Munde and Arun Jaitley and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu endorsed her view.
“Modi is one of the candidates for the PM’s post in the BJP. I support whatever Sushma Swaraj has said about him. His capability makes him a prime ministerial candidate. Even (Bihar CM) Nitish Kumar has said that he would support a BJP candidate for the PM’s post, whoever he may be,” Munde said in Vadodara.
In Ahmedabad, Sidhu on Sunday declared that the Gujarat polls were not only aimed at electing a CM but also the PM. “If there is a national leader after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, it is Narendra Modi,” he said. “Rajiv Gandhi kahte the ki Rs 100 mein se sirf Rs 10 hi garibon tak pahunchta hai, par Narendra Modi kahte hain mujhe Rs 100 do, main Rs 110 garibon tak pahunchaunga. Isiliye main kahta hun mitron ki ye Gujarat ke mukhya mantri ka chunav nahin hai par Hindustan ke pradhan mantri ka hai. Yeh Angad ka pair hai jo Gujarat mein jamne vala hai, aur ap logon ko ise Delhi le kar jana hai,” he said.
Arun Jaitley, another senior party leader, said the BJP is proud of the fact it had a leader like Modi and he is so popular and a “successful CM” that it is “natural” the party will keep his name “ahead” in the prime ministerial aspirants.
In Patna, Bihar BJP chief C P Thakur claimed that Swaraj’s endorsement of Modi’s candidature was the “broad view” of the party leadership.
“Sushmaji’s endorsement of Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate represents the broad view of the party leadership and not her personal opinion alone. Not only Sushmaji but also Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and other senior leaders have echoed similar sentiments in favour of Modi,” Thakur claimed.
However, another senior party leader, Venkaiah Naidu, who was in Gujarat to address rallies, said that the BJP would decide a candidate for the top post at an appropriate time.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh took a dig at both Swaraj and BJP veteran L K Advani, saying she must first make clear if Advani agreed with her on Modi being fit for the top post.