Amid the clamour within the Bharatiya Janata Party to have Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 elections, he has himself dropped broad hints that he was indeed eyeing the prestigious chair in New Delhi, saying it was time for him to “repay his debt to the nation.”

Addressing a function on Thursday to release a book of the former bureaucrat-turned-industrialist Rajendra Prasad Gupta, Mr. Modi said it was time everyone in the country, including himself, to repay the country’s debt. The book Turnaround India is on the country’s economy and how it has evolved and Gupta has been writing on this subject for a long time.

Mr. Modi’s comments came in response to Mr. Gupta, who earlier asked, “Isn’t it time for Modiji that now after having repaid the debt of Gujarat, you repay the debt of the nation.’’

And the Chief Minister, in his address, said with a broad smile, “Guptaji said Modiji has paid the debt of Gujarat and now should repay the debt of the nation. I don’t understand what he was saying.”

“There is no child in this country who is not indebted to the country,” Mr. Modi said, and added that “the country’s debt is not only upon Narendra Modi but on every one.”

He went on, “Bharat Ma ka karz sirf Modi ke upar nahi hum sab ka upar hain. And all of us should use all the opportunity to pay back the debt to the country. A teacher pays back his debt to the country or a doctor pays back the debt by saving the life of a child.”

“So this becomes our responsibility to ensure that we repay the debt to our country so that Mother India blesses us and we, in turn, do not leave any debt behind,” he added.

There have been voices from several corners of the BJP that Mr. Modi be projected as the prime ministerial candidate and this is probably why he has been included in the Central parliamentary board of the party. But this is the first time that Mr. Modi himself came so close to letting his ambitions known, though his aspiration is no secret.

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