Senior BJP leader LK Advani said no one was sure whether the UPA would last its full term in office or next Lok Sabha elections, which are due in 2014, to be held early because of an “air of uncertainty” caused by the performance and decisions taken by the government.
Answering questions at the HT Leadership Summit, Advani avoided a direct answer on being the BJP’s prime minister candidate in the next polls. He also refused to respond to Anna Hazre’s suggestion for public flogging to end problems of alcoholism.
“Nothing can be said whether the elections will happen early or the UPA will last full term. There is a deep atmosphere of uncertainty…it’s another matter, there is an accident (of a political kind), and things become clear. No one can say anything.”
Asked by the session’s moderator, Karan Thapar, whether he still aspired to be Prime Minister or why he should not be Prime Minister, Advani said, “It is for the party to decide. Also, there is question of my health and my own inclination at that time (when the issues comes up.)”
Earlier, in his key note address, Advani referred to posers to him on whether his recent Jan Chetna Yatra was to re-package himself for the top slot. “I had said then, why should I need to repackage myself. The yatra was less to do with him or even the BJP and more about the ills of the country.”
Asked about his opinion on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Advani said one reason why the PM was not able to exercise all the authority vested in his office was his adoption of the Communist model of governance in which the party chief is supreme, which is "improper" in democracy. As per this model, he said, the party chief is more important than the Prime Minister or the President.
On Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, he said, "We cannot have a number one in a democracy whom many people don't know."
Asked whether Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi needed to repackage himself, Advani had some words of praise for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, saying he is a "remarkable administrator and excellent political leader.
"I don't think he needs to be rebranded. He has been maligned consistently. I have not seen any leader as much wrongly maligned as Narendra Modi," he said responding to a question on whether Modi was trying to rebrand himself.
On Referring to frequent disruption of Parliament on the issue, Advani said he felt sad whenever Parliament does not function. He referred to the comments of Anna Hazare and his supporters that the government took the decision to introduce the foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail because they don't want to bring the Lokpal Bill although "I don't know (whether it is true)."