Minister of State for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Dinesh Gundu Rao on Wednesday said the Bharatiya Janata Party was projecting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate because there are no leaders at all in the principal Opposition party.

Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Rao said Mr. Modi had sidelined all senior leaders such as L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely, and had projected himself as the sole leader to gain popularity. He said there were pictures of Mr. Modi all over the city, put up by the party, but one could accept he was popular only if he becomes the Prime Minister and stays in that position for at least 10 years.

Asked why the Congress had allowed him to hijack its leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Mr. Rao said the BJP had no leaders of that stature and had adopted Patel. Mr. Rao disagreed that Patel was ignored by the Congress at the cost of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

Mr. Rao said they were elected Prime Ministers by the people, and they both governed the country for over a decade.

He said the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee met on Wednesday and it was decided to hold a huge rally at Freedom Park to celebrate the birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on November 19.

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