Days after Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal hinted that senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley could be the next deputy prime minister, Madhya Pradesh culture minister pitched Sushma Swaraj for the post at a public meeting here on Wednesday.
Jaitley had quickly made it clear that he was not looking for posts and described Badal's remarks as "comments made in the course of a campaign". On Wednesday, it was Swaraj's turn.
"We are all hopeful that 'didi' Sushmaji will be given an important responsibility, like the deputy prime minister, if the BJP comes to power at the Centre," Madhya Pradesh minister for tourism and culture Surendra Patwa said at Badi, around 100 km from Bhopal.
The minister made the same point at another meeting at Obedullganj. Sushma was sitting on the stage on both occasions. A smiling Sushma, who spoke soon after, told party workers to work hard and aim for a bigger margin.
The sitting MP, Swaraj is the BJP's candidate for the Vidisha seat. Patwa is the sitting MLA from Bhojpur, which is one of the eight assembly segments of the Lok Sabha seat. Patwa later told HT that he was "simply reflecting the sentiments of party workers in this region".
He said the decision would be taken by the party, but stressed that the constituency — which elected former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the past – had a history of its own.
"Whoever wins from here, gets an important responsibility," he said, adding Swaraj too became the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha after winning from Vidisha.