The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Saturday denied it had suggested that the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) next chief should be "from outside Delhi".
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat told reporters in Pune that this was the BJP's own viewpoint and he had just "announced it before the public".
"Who should be the next leader of the BJP? Whether he should be from New Delhi or not and related issues were decided by the party and they informed us. We had no role to play in these. I merely announced it before the public, stressing the need for a young, dynamic person who can build and strengthen the party," Bhagwat said.
He was referring to a spate of media reports indicating that the RSS had advised the BJP leadership to pick a new leader who is not from Delhi and not from the current top party leadership.
"We do not own the party, we only give (them) advice as and when they (the BJP) want it," said Bhagwat.
"When the BJP sought our opinion, we advised them that the person should have the capability to rebuild the party. Not only the BJP, any other party which seeks our advice, we shall give it to them," the RSS chief added.
When asked if the RSS had 'advised' Leader of Opposition and senior party leader LK Advani to retire in February, he said: "It will be his decision. What can we say in this matter?"