Days before his yatra for "clean politics" kicks off from Bihar, BJP patriarch LK Advani refrained from getting drawn into the leadership question in the BJP, which has generated much heat till now.
Asked if he could name four leaders in his party apart from himself who could lead the country, Advani said in an interview to DD's Sheila Chaman on Saturday, "There are so many - I don't want to name any four."
When asked if he could name four politicians in India suitable for leadership roles, Advani again refrained, but in explaining his position did slip out the name of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.
"…How can I be naming people? I am a political person myself, belonging to a certain party - it is difficult...Not that I can't do it but I would not do it publicly," Advani said.
"When we won Bihar - my party and the JD(U) - I was the first person to say that to me it appears that Nitish would be the appropriate chief minister. And there was a reaction from George Fernandes from his own party that who is Advani to say this - he belongs to the BJP. And the next morning George himself called me over phone and told me that what I had said was correct."
The veteran leader however did claim that the BJP's record of governance was better than the Congress despite its relatively brief stints with power.
"Today we are in office in nine different states, either on our own or along with our alliance of the NDA. And I can say that on both these counts - whether it is of good governance or of clean politics - our record is certainly far, far better than that of the present ruling party," he said. In this, for once, he did not mark Gujarat out as a 'top' performer at a time when there is a widespread perception that Modi is competing with him for the top post.
Advani said that his yatra -his sixth till now - would focus on clean politics: "If I were to talk about three issues it would be corruption, inflation and black money… which are in a way interlinked. The remedy for that, as I see it, is good governance and clean politics."