Leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj refused to get drawn into speaking on Narendra Modi’s chance of success in the 2014 polls as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate at a book launch event on Thursday.
A smiling Swaraj did not respond to suggestions from the speakers that she stood a better chance of becoming PM of a coalition if Modi failed to get the required 272 Lok Sabha seats after the 2014 polls.
AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who spoke at the function, described Swaraj’s rise in politics was not because of LK Advani but due to the anti-Emergency stir of Jaya Prakash Narayan in 1975-77.
“Therefore, Sushmaji is not where she is because of Advani and not a hardcore supporter of the (RSS) ideology to which I am strongly opposed. I have no problems with her.”
But Swaraj, who is close to Advani and supported his opposition to Modi’s candidature, kept silent.
She, however, responded to Singh’s taunting query as to why she threatened to get her head shaved in 2004 if Sonia Gandhi became PM when the UPA came to power.
“I would still oppose her becoming PM. I believe if a person of foreign origin becomes PM, it’s an insult to Indians for whom the wounds of foreign rule is still fresh in the mind,” she said at the launch of a book on women leaders, Pandora’s Daughters, written by well known journalist, Kalyani Shankar.
Swaraj told Singh that she had fought against the Congress president in Bellary in Karnataka in 1999 also for the same reason though unsuccessfully.
“I have no problems with her (Sonia Gandhi) as the Congress chief, but as PM, I would still say no.” Swaraj, however, defended those making it big in politics from the “dynastic background”, saying “while a family background does make the entry easy, one can taste success only if he or she has merit, works hard among the people”.
Singh defended Gandhi, saying though family circumstances propelled her into politics she had shown remarkable “political instinct” to lead the Congress party out of crisis.