Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said the call on the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 polls will be taken by its parliamentary board at an ‘appropriate’ time after consultations with NDA partners.
She made the declaration at a joint news conference with Arun Jaitley on Wednesday.
“Whether we will have a face (PM candidate) or not and if we decide to have a face, who it will be, these issues will be decided by the BJP parliamentary board at an appropriate time.”
Both Swaraj and Jaitely parried questions on whether Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi would be the BJP’s choice because he was popular among the party cadres.
They were quizzed on the issue after they criticised the Congress for its internal problems over leadership.
Swaraj, who is also seen as one of the contenders, maintained that the decision would be taken in two phases.
After the BJP board takes a decision on the issue, the matter would be discussed with NDA allies.
Asked if Advani would not be projected again because BJP could not win the 2009 elections despite his projection, she said, “We have not ruled him out. Nobody has said his name will not be discussed.”
Besides Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti, Yashwant Sinha and Shivraj Singh Chauhan have hailed Advani as a candidate for the prime minister’s position.
But there are others, like Arun Jaitely, who think that Modi should be projected without delay.
The party’s national president Rajnath Singh however, has kept his cards close to his chest.