Ruling himself out as his party's Prime Ministerial candidate, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari on Sunday favoured Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the top job and promised to back his candidature as party chief.
“I will never be a candidate for PM nor will I topple anybody. Modi has good potential to be BJP president and PM,” Mr. Gadkari told ‘Headlines Today.'
Mr. Gadkari, whose term as BJP president comes to an end in December, said he was not interested in extension of his tenure. “I am ready to work as an ordinary party worker. I will support Narendra Modi to don the mantle.”
Dodging questions who will be the party's likely choice for the PM's post, Mr. Gadkari said: “The BJP is not a proprietary party and we will decide the candidate at the appropriate time.”
Asked whether the party should now launch Mr. Modi on the national stage, he said: “Narendra Modi has very good potential to be both BJP president and PM.”
The BJP chief defended fielding Uma Bharti in Uttar Pradesh and discounted dissensions within the party's State leadership over the import of the firebrand leader into the State.
“Uma Bharti is a national and respected party leader and has been at the forefront of many projects in the State including the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.
“If Sonia Gandhi from Italy can contest polls in Amethi, what's the problem with Uma,” he asked.