Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh said on Monday that the decision on the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party will be taken by the party’s Parliamentary Board.

“Narendra Modi is the most popular leader. But there is a system in place in our party. Whether it’s the Chief Ministerial candidate or the Prime Ministerial candidate, our Central Parliamentary Board decides on these issues. At an appropriate time, this decision will be taken,” Mr. Singh told reporters on his first visit here after being appointed as the BJP president.

He was here to “seek the blessings of senior Sangh leaders and to pay homage to Dr. Hedgewar and Shree Golwalkar” at the Hedgewar Smriti Mandir here.

However, he refused to react to BJP leader Yashwant Sinha’s statement regarding the National Democratic Alliance partner Janata Dal (United). “I am, right now, on a tour; I will react only after reading that statement,” he stated.

Defending the outgoing party president Nitin Gadkari for his comments targeting Income Tax officials probing the Purti Group, Mr. Singh said, “You should understand his feelings behind that statement. He wanted to say that the administrative system should work impartially.”

Mr. Singh was confident that the BJP government in Karnataka is stable and will complete its full term and “will come back to power once again after the Assembly elections.”

Slamming the Centre for delaying the decision on the Telangana issue, Mr. Singh said the Prime Minister should come clean on it. He made it clear that the BJP supports separate the Statehood demand “wholeheartedly.”

“The Congress and the United Progressive Alliance had promised a separate Telangana State. We have been supporting and agitating for this demand from the past 25 years, in and out of Parliament,” he said.

Later on, addressing a farmer’s rally in Chandrapur district, Mr. Singh called Mr. Gadkari as “his younger brother and a national leader.”

“I would not have allowed Gadkari to resign if he had been in Delhi. He declared his decision from Mumbai and I couldn't do anything. Everyone in our party wanted him to get the second term as the BJP president but he was hurt by the false allegations levelled against him. But the BJP is behind him,” said Mr. Singh, addressing his first public meeting after taking over as the party president.

He also met and spent an hour at senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue M.G. Vaidya’s residence. Mr. Vaidya’s younger son Shreenivas Vaidya called this visit as “personal.” Mr. Gadkari did not accompany Mr. Singh when he went to meet Mr. Vaidya.