BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Sunday favoured Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the party's Prime Ministerial candidate and the next party chief. He ruled out his own candidature, saying he did not want his term, which is ending a year later, extended.
"I will never be a candidate for the PM's post nor will I topple anybody. Modi has good potential to be the BJP president and the prime minister," Gadkari told Headlines Today.
Suggesting he was not inclined to have his term extended, Gadkari said, "I am ready to work as an ordinary party worker. I will support Narendra Modi to take over the mantle."
He, however, underlined that the party would decide its PM candidate at an appropriate time, saying it was not a "propriety party". Till now, Gadkari had throughout said the BJP would collectively decide on its PM candidate later.
His personal endorsement of Modi, however, is likely to excite disapproval not just within the party but in the National Democratic Alliance too, with Bihar chief minister and key ally Nitish Kumar known to dislike Modi, a controversial figure ever since the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Nitish Kumar has maintained distance from Modi with an eye on Muslim support in Bihar, while some top BJP leaders, who have ambitions for the top post, are also seen as wary of him.
Gadkari, however, denied any dissensions within the party on these decisions.