‘Anyone who fights corruption from this city will become PM'

Any person who fights corruption from Varanasi will go on to become Prime Minister, the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Uma Bharti, said on Thursday, hinting that senior leader L.K. Advani is a strong contender to be the BJP candidate for the top job in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing a public meeting here to mark the launch of the Jan Swabhiman Yatra, which was flagged off by Mr. Advani, Mr. Bharti pointed out that Vishwanath Pratap Singh launched his campaign against corruption (against the Congress government at the Centre) from Varanasi and became Prime Minister.

Ms. Bharti said Mr. Advani was the only person who could take on the menace of corruption. The Congress and the Left might have ideological and political differences with Mr. Advani, but none questioned his honesty, which was why the Jan Chetna Yatra was launched, she said. “At the same time, Mr. Advani is one person who is not hungry for any post.”

Recalling the proceedings of the 1995 BJP national executive meeting in Mumbai, where Mr. Advani proposed the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee as leader of the party's campaign and for Prime Minister, Ms. Bharti said she was dejected at the suggestion. “Mr. Advani replied, asking what wrong did he do [in making the proposal] when Jana Sangh and BJP cadres wanted to see Mr. Vajpayee as Prime Minister and saying he understood the sentiments of the people,” she added.