Amid growing clamour to declare Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate of BJP, party vice president Uma Bharti said on Sunday that people look at him as a strong leader, as they want someone who can tackle issues like terrorism and naxalism.
"Though I am not eligible to say whether Modi should be declared as BJP's prime ministerial candidate or not, I understand the psyche of the people, who have a feeling of insecurity because of growing terrorism, naxalism, corruption and incidents like beheading of Indian soldiers on the LoC. Therefore, they have started looking at Modi as a strong leader," Bharti said.
"People want a strong leader, who can tackle terrorism, naxalism, corruption and law and order... They want a leader who they can consider as their hero. They are no more interested in goody-goody kind of persons and leaders who only sweet talk," she added.
The BJP leader said that Modi was getting support from across the country as he has been successful in providing good governance, which is a combination of both development as well as law and order in Gujarat. "There is no point in having good roads if people are unable to walk on them without any fear," she said.
Referring to Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh's recent comment that Modi has hired professional media/PR agencies for his image makeover, Bharti said, "The clamour for Modi is growing not because of any media management as alleged by some people, but because of strong feeling of insecurity among the people."
She also refuted the claim that there was no development in Gujarat and asked the Congress leader to tour the state by road instead of helicopter. "The state has one of the finest roads in the country and there is no corruption in Gujarat," she said.
"There are only two states in the country where there is virtually no corruption, first is Gujarat and the other one is Goa," Bharti claimed.
The BJP leader said that she would give her opinion on the issue of Modi's name being in the race of NDA's PM candidate, at an appropriate forum in the party.
On Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's opposition to Modi as PM candidate, Bharti said, that she, in her capacity as in-charge of Bihar in 2005, had announced his name in Patna for BJP and JD(U) chief ministerial candidate.
Nitish Kumar had recently opposed Modi's name for the top post saying NDA's prime ministerial candidate should have a secular face.
"No one can be identified more with Hindutva than I, as I was never apologetic for my role in the Ayodhya movement," she added.
"When Nitish had no problem in sharing the dais with me and my addressing poll campaigns in favour of him and other JD(U) candidates in Bihar at that time, then there is no point in raising this issue now," she said.
"At the time of becoming chief minister, Nitish did not have any issues with us and therefore he should not have any reservations now. I am confident that the BJP president Rajnath Singh will amicably solve this issue," Bharti said.
On the issue of Gujarat's opposition to handing over Asiatic lions to Madhya Pradesh, Bharti, former MP chief minister, said, "They have to give these animals to us, as we have also given them Narmada water."