Stirring the hornet's nest in the BJP, Ram Jethmalani, who wrote a letter to party president Nitin Gadkari, pitching for Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, went a step further, telling Hindustan Times that Modi was better than both Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.
"I'm looking for a man whose integrity can't be questioned and that's Modi. Besides, don't forget, he's turned the face of Gujarat," the Rajya Sabha member and Supreme Court lawyer said.
Asked why he preferred Modi over Jaitley, also considered a contender for the PM's post within party circles, Jethmalani, who seldom minces his words, said, "Jaitley has never contested an election. He is in the Rajya Sabha because of Modi's grace."
The lawyer-cum-politician, often in the midst of political controversies, was candid about why he wasn't similarly batting for Swaraj, also seen as a contender, saying quite bluntly that he didn't think she was "intellectually qualified.''
Jethmalani, who apart from writing a letter to Gadkari, had also taken up the issue of naming Modi as the party's PM candidate with the RSS.
Angry over the communal tag, which he said had been given to the Gujarat CM by the media, Jethmalani said, "why don't the media talk about the kar sewaks who were burnt alive in the train. The riots were a retaliation to that. If you annoy some hot-heads, they will react."
To the question of why Modi, who was also the home minister in 2002, could not contain the riots for three days, Jethmalani, once again pointed to the media saying, "why does the Congress not carry the same black spot for the 1984 carnage? ... the party would be wise if it announces Modi's name as the prime ministerial candidate."