'Vajpayee wanted to sack Modi post-riots'

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 20, 2012 22:58 IST

Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s key aide Brajesh Mishra on Wednesday told CNN-IBN in an interview that there was no chance of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi becoming the prime minister unless the BJP secured an absolute majority, which seemed impossible.

His statement came at a time when Bihar CM Nitish Kumar created a flutter by saying on record that the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate should be “secular and liberal”.

“Narendra Modi becoming the PM entirely depends on the BJP getting majority on its own. Otherwise, there are allies which would say no,” Mishra said. “First of all, the BJP is not going to get majority on its own. It’s impossible. We have to find someone else. Or they will have to agree to a third front which they can support from outside.”

Endorsing statements emanating from the JD (U) against Modi, Mishra said there was no comparison between Modi and Vajpayee, the BJP’s and NDA’s only PM who could manage a large coalition. “Nitish Kumar knows that there is no comparison between Vajpayee and Modi. There is no other statesman in this country today other than Vajpayee though he is bed-ridden,” he said.

Mishra recalled that Vajpayee was not in favour of Modi continuing as Gujarat CM in the wake of the 2002 riots, “In Goa, there was vociferous demand that Modi should continue as CM. He (Vajpayee) was not in favour. So (Vajpayee said) he should follow ‘Raj dharma’. It was a kind of advice given to him. But there was no question of Atalji overruling the party.”

Though Mishra said there were many factors in the NDA’s loss in 2004, he did not rule out the Gujarat riots as a cause.

“There were other factors also. The elections were held earlier than October. The loss could be due to what happened in Gujarat,” he said. “The loss could be because the Congress prepared very well for the polls.”

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