Senior BJP leader LK Advani’s not-so-secret prime ministerial ambitions received an unexpected and very public endorsement on his 85th birthday from former party president Rajnath Singh.
Addressing a gathering at Advani’s Delhi residence on Tuesday, Singh, never considered close to his colleague, said: “When I read in the papers about Advani being in the reckoning for the prime minister’s post, I feel pained. Will a person of Advani’s stature ever present his claim for prime ministership? He is a natural choice for PM.”
Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, and Arun Jaitley, her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha — both Advani protégés, who, like Singh, praised their mentor’s leadership qualities and contribution to the party — however, made no mention of his perceived aspirations. They will both be in the fray for the top job if the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance wins a majority in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh, chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, respectively, also heaped praise on Advani.
An emotional Advani, who took a break from his Jan Chetna Yatra to celebrate his birthday, said: “All these leaders have praised me as a family member praises a head of the family and nothing more.”