The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said the 2014 polls would be a "referendum on leadership" as the country had been "suffering hugely" due to leadership crisis under the UPA rule

Throwing strong hints that Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to declare Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate soon, its senior leader Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the coming Lok Sabha polls would be a “referendum on leadership” as the country had been “suffering hugely” due to leadership crisis under the United Progressive Alliance rule.

Berating the UPA Government for its “indecisiveness”, and singling out Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for attack, the leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha said: “The elections will also be a leadership referendum when people are disillusioned with a leaderless situation.” Though he did not name the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr. Jaitley said: “When the principal opposition party, which has a proven leadership, throws up a powerful personality, the elections could become quasi-presidential in nature.” Delivering a lecture on “the current political situation in the country” organised by the Aurobindo Cultural Society here, the BJP leader claimed that the “anti-incumbency is writ large on the wall” and the country was looking for a change.

Stating that the run-up for the elections had started, he said “the writing on the wall is clear....rest assure that we will announce very soon...We are fully conscious of that.” Holding that the UPA had no answer to the challenge posed by the BJP, he said all that it could do was to rely upon the ’dynastic leadership.’ “The UPA has no answer for this challenge. When the BJP has a proven leadership and from among them emerge a prominent personality, the Congress has only a dynasty to depend upon,” he said.

He said “cynicism and despondency” had eroded the confidence that the nation had been enjoying as an emerging power before the UPA came to power.

“The political situation in the country is now moving into a certain direction where the cynicism will be converted into hope”, Mr. Jaitley said.

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