Senior party leader Jaswant Singh on Saturday disapproved of the “new phenomenon” of naming the prime ministerial candidate before polls, saying poll performance should throw up a name.
BJP strongman Narendra Modi during BJP National Executive meet in Panaji, Goa. PTI Photo
Days after Shatrughan Sinha backed LK Advani and said Narendra Modi shouldn’t have been made the BJP’s face for the 2014 polls, Singh joined those saying Modi shouldn’t be formally announced PM candidate.
“Personally I’m of the view that this whole clamour for announcing a name is a new phenomenon. If the Congress party is stumbling (in naming their number-one leader) it is because of the reality. You don’t know what the country is going to throw up by way of numbers,” Singh told CNN-IBN. “We are not a presidential system and the necessity of a parliamentary system is to depend on the numbers that emerge.”
This came a day after BJP chief Rajnath Singh told reporters in response to a question on the party’s PM candidate: “Our choice is obvious. Please ask the Congress.”
Some in the party are already seeing Singh’s statement as a sign that an announcement may indeed happen.
The BJP has reportedly asked Shatrughan Sinha not to speak out of turn. In response to his statement that Amitabh Bachchan should be President of India if popularity was the sole criterion, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, “Reel life and real life are different. The popularity in one is different from the popularity enjoyed in the other. In reel life, there is no doubt that Amitabh Bachchan is popular but in real life Modi enjoys huge popularity.”
Considered close to Advani, Yashwant Sinha has also done many a flip flop before saying that Modi would be the next PM. He later qualified his statement saying it was his assessment.
A BJP leader admitted there is a view that Modi be announced formally to lift the party’s tally, but added the party hadn’t taken a call on this yet. However, the fear remains that withdrawing Modi’s name to form a government if numbers don’t add up and allies play truant would be embarrassing.
The RSS did not discuss the matter with the BJP in Thursday’s meeting, sources say.
“It is up to the BJP to take a call on the timing. We’ll be with their decision,” an RSS leader said.