A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party declared Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general election, party president Rajnath Singh challenged the Congress to announce the name of its candidate.
“We have declared our candidate. But who is Congress’ choice? They cannot decide on any name yet. The country needs to know your choice,” Mr. Singh said in a press conference held in Mumbai on Saturday.
Referring to the speculation that Rahul Gandhi will be the Congress’ choice, Mr. Singh said that it has never happened before that the sitting Prime Minister was not the choice of ruling party. “Why do they need a second person, despite having a sitting PM?” he asked.
Mr. Singh however accepted that veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani was upset at a time when Mr. Modi's name was declared on Friday by BJP's parliamentary committee.
“He is the senior most leader of BJP. He is our guardian and mentor. He has a right to tell us a thing or two. He has a right to be upset at us,” he said. Though, he made it clear that party does not know the reason behind his unhappiness. “Yeh andar ki baat hai (This is the inside news),” he said when repeatedly asked for reasons behind Mr. Advani's discontent.
The BJP president also made it clear that he will not reply to the letter sent by Mr. Advani to him. According to Mr. Singh, judging by the mood of the nation, Mr. Modi is the most popular leader of the country today. “There were no double thoughts on his candidature (within party),” he said.
Hinting that the new allies will soon join the National Democratic Alliance, Mr. Singh said that pre- and post-election alliances are on cards, but refused to share any more details.