Amid talks that Narendra Modi could be BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate in 2014, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha feels the party should project anybody for the top post only after considering whether it would benefit the poll prospects.
Sinha is of the opinion that it is not necessary to project anybody as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate as done so in the past but could decide on it if and when it is in a position to form the next government.
He was also dismissive about Rahul Gandhi's prospects as a capable Congress contender for the post of Prime Minister asserting he has been proved as a "dud bullet which has failed to fire".
When referred to the perception that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections could be a contest between Modi and Gandhi, the BJP leader said it was too premature to say anything about an event slated to take place 22 months from now.
"It is the media which is labouring this point. There is no talk about any Prime Ministerial candidate as yet," Sinha told PTI when referred to the talk that the Gujarat chief minister could be BJP's nominee.
"I am not aware of any discussion or decision within the party as to who will be the Prime Ministerial candidate in 2014," the former Union minister went on to add.
Sinha said a section of media, after the 2002 Gujarat riots, had described Modi as a "criminal" and "the same media today is saying that he is a Prime Ministerial candidate. So where do we stand?"
When pressed to say as to who else could be the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, he suggested that it was not necessary to project anyone.
"You declare a candidate when you feel you will benefit or you don't," he said, adding that in the past the party has gone to the Lok Sabha as well as Assembly polls without projecting anybody in advance.
"BJP will take a decision when the times comes. BJP, in its wisdom, will take a decision at an appropriate time," he said.
His attention was drawn to the assertion by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, whose party JD(U) is a key constituent of the NDA, that the coalition's Prime Ministerial candidate should have "secular" credentials, which was seen as an apparent opposition to Modi.
"Nitish has expressed his view. Somebody should explain to me what is secularism," Sinha said and added, "when two big people speak, it is better for a small leader like me to keep quiet."
The BJP leader wondered why only his party was being asked as to who would be the Prime Ministerial candidate and that such a question was not posed to the Congress.
"There is an incumbent Prime Minister of Congress but Congress has not declared who will be its Prime Ministerial candidate in 2014," he said in a sarcastic tone.
Sinha was dismissive of the perception that Rahul Gandhi could be projected as Congress' Prime Ministerial candidate.
"Rahul Gandhi has proved to be a dud bullet which has failed to fire," he said, referring to the Congress general secretary's failure to make impact in the assembly elections in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh over the last three years.
"He (Rahul) has not been able to make much impact on the voters. That is now an established and recognised fact that he has not exactly created waves among the electorate," he said.
On law minister Salman Khurshid's view asking Rahul Gandhi to clarify his ideology to give a future direction to the Congress, Sinha laughed and said, "he (Rahul Gandhi) is neither a very learned man nor a person with vast experience to guide the party with a new ideology".
"He does not fit the bill," said Sinha, who was Union finance minister in the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"You must look at the background, the understanding, the learning, the experience of a person and then expect something from him," the BJP leader said, adding, "This shows the complete bankruptcy of thought in the Congress Party that they expect Rahul Gandhi to lay down the new ideology".