BJP must declare Narendra Modi as PM candidate, says Yashwant Sinha, irks JD(U)
Contending that he was reflecting the mood of the country and BJP workers, he advised JD(U), which has reservations on Modi because of the 2002 Gujarat riots, not to target the chief minister but take a decision after careful consideration.
"A debate has been taking place for many days now. When I travel, there is a strong demand from common people and workers that Narendra Modi should be declared as the PM candidate as this will benefit the party.
"After careful thought, I have concluded that if BJP declares Modi as its PM candidate, then BJP will benefit hugely in the elections. It will have a big impact on voters. I have no doubt on this," Sinha told reporters here.
The former External Affairs Minister, who had once claimed to be qualified for the top job, said the decision on the prime ministerial candidate has to be taken by the party but this is the sentiment of workers and public.
Sinha became the first senior BJP leader to openly pitch for declaring Modi as PM candidate although the party and the leaders have been evasive on the issue.
Modi, who held "elaborate" discussions with new BJP chief Rajnath Singh here yesterday on the 2014 elections, himself has been parrying the question.
On JD(U) having reservations on Modi's name, Sinha said if the ally does not support, it will be a wrong decision.
"JD(U) is the oldest ally of BJP... and it should remain in the alliance," he said.
However, he took exception to JD(U) targeting Modi, saying "to target one particular person is not fair. Either the entire party is secular or the entire party is communal.
Within the BJP, you cannot pick and choose. That is a flawed argument."
He went on to add that, "within a party, you cannot say XYZ is secular and ABC is communal and we will go with XYZ and not with ABC."
When asked about the possibility of JD(U) quitting the NDA if Modi is declared as PM candidate by BJP, Sinha said, "if any party goes, a number of parties will come.... JD(U) is absolutely free.
"It is another party, it is an ally. If they take a position, they should take it only after careful consideration."
Sinha said he was in favour of the JD-U remaining with the NDA, as he himself has been the architect of the alliance when he was President of the Bihar unit of the party. "Why should a person like me want to push them out," he said.
"If Narendra Modi is projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP and we go into the electoral battle under his leadership, then it will do a lot of good for the party and we will come back with far more seats than is being estimated at present."
The BJP leader said there have been some recent surveys where Modi appears to be way ahead of all other contenders for that post and the time was "ripe" to project him as the prime ministerial candidate.
"I personally, therefore, feel that it will only be natural if the BJP were to project him as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party," Sinha said.
"This is the time to go into it with a projected leader. So the time is now ripe," the former External Affairs minister said.
On JD-U's reservations and threats to quit the alliance, Sinha said it has already conceded that the BJP is the core of the coalition and the BJP should suggest who the Prime Ministerial candidate will be and it should be the BJP's decision.
"My most earnest request will be that they should leave this decision with the BJP and accept this decision in good grace," he said.
"If BJP in its wisdom were to project anyone then as alliance partner JD-U should accept that... It is flawed to say that individual leaders in the BJP are either secular or communal. Either the whole party is communal or the whole party is secular. We can't pick up individuals and say he is secular but he is not secular. That becomes difficult to accept," Sinha said.
Modi popular, decision on him as PM nominee not yet in place: Rajnath
After BJP leader Yashwant Sinha pitching for Narendra Modi as Prime Ministerial nominee, party President Rajnath Singh today agreed the Gujarat Chief Minister is a popular leader and said any decision on such an issue will be taken by the Parliamentary Board.
"There are no two opinions about Narendra Modi being a popular leader. In BJP, we don't only have a tradition but a system also that for such a decision, the Central Parliamentary Board of BJP talks and decides on such an issue," Singh told reporters in Nagpur.
He was reacting to questions on Sinha's favouring Modi as the party's Prime Ministerial candidate in 2014 general elections.
The BJP chief said "I am on tour right now and I will read the statement and comment (of Sinha) and only after that can I say."
Sinha has said "there is a strong demand from common people and workers that Narendra Modi should be declared as the PM candidate as this will benefit the party.
Sinha's comments about Modi come a day after the Gujarat Chief Minister had held a two-hour discussion with Rajnath Singh here yesterday and discussed the next Lok Sabha polls.
Holding thast BJP has many leaders who can lead the party as well as the nation, senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said the party will take a call on the issue at an appropriate time.
"The party has to take the decision. I only appeal to all the people concerned to wait for the decision of the party and also final decision of NDA. To my knowledge, there is no controversy in BJP for Prime Ministership. There are people with enugh experience and also capabities to lead the party and lead the nation," Naidu told reporters.
"We will discuss the matter at an appropriate time...parties have to discuss the issue and take the decision that is known to all."
Sushma Swaraj surprised at queries about BJP's PM candidate
Sehore: Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, said here today that BJP will decide its Prime Ministerial candidate at an appropriate time and expressed surprise over the media's curiosity on the issue.
"Why is the media concerned about it? We had stated earlier also that the party would take an appropriate decision on the issue when the time comes," Swaraj told reporters when asked about BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate.
On the issue of Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's statement on Hindu terror, she said that he has to resign from his post or else the BJP will disrupt Parliament.
She said that if Shinde did not resign on his own, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi should ask him to resign from cabinet.
Earlier, Swaraj chaired the District Vigilance and Review Committee meeting and pulled up officials for shortcomings in the implementation of various developmental schemes in the district.
Nitish Kumar's JD(U) irked over Yashwant Sinha's bid to project Modi as BJP PM candidate
Annoyed over attempts to project Narendra Modi as BJP's PM candidate, Janata Dal-U today bluntly told the opposition party to realise that alliances are formed with "great difficulty".
"Alliances are formed with great difficulty and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha's statement is uncalled for in the context of alliances," JD-U chief Sharad Yadav, who is also convenor of the BJP-led NDA, said.
Sinha openly pitched for declaring Modi as BJP's PM candidate saying it will benefit the party in a big way.
To a query as to how the JD-U, which is a key ally of the BJP in the NDA, sees Sinha's demand, Yadav said, "You should ask this to the BJP President or spokesperson. No announcement has been made in this regard from the BJP so there is no point talking about it".
"We used to run alliance earlier also. Now I have responsibility in NDA and I want to again say that alliances are formed with great difficulty", Yadav said.
Earlier, JD-U spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari dismissed Sinha's demand as his "personal" view while making it clear that it has no love lost for the Gujarat Chief Minister.
Tiwari said the JD-U will wait for BJP's "official stand" on the issue as its leader Nitish Kumar has already conveyed the party's views on NDA Prime Ministerial candidate.
"Whatever we had to say on the issue (of who should be NDA's PM candidate) our leader Nitish Kumar has already conveyed to the BJP.... He has also spoken clearly about what kind of a person should be the Prime Ministerial candidate. So the ball is in BJP's court," Tiwari told reporters.
Kumar, who has had reservations on sharing stage with Modi and his campaigning in Bihar, earlier broadly indicated to the BJP that the Gujarat Chief Minister with his Hindutva hardliner image will not be acceptable to JD(U) as the NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate. The Bihar Chief Minister had also said publicly that NDA's candidate for the post should be somebody who is secular and is acceptable across the board.