Advani ‘surprised’ at PM’s remarks

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New Delhi: Expressing surprise over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s comments on him, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani on Wednesday said it showed that Congress cannot “compete with” Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

“I am a bit surprised at the Prime Minister’s statement. It only shows that the Congress has admitted that they cannot compete with Modi in Gujarat. Modi will emerge victorious,” he said.

Mr. Advani was reacting to Dr. Singh’s remarks that he was named as BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate as the party feared a threat from Mr. Modi.

Thackeray’s support

Throwing his weight behind Mr. Advani on being anointed BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray likened him to a “flower” that has bloomed in desert.

In the first response from the BJP’s oldest ally to Mr. Advani getting the honour, Mr. Thackeray also took the opportunity to say the country needed a strong Hindutva proponent to thwart the ‘Islamic aggression.

“The description of a flower which has bloomed in a desert suits Advani more than it suits Atal Behari Vajpayee,” Mr. Thackeray said in an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana. “At 80, Advani is a year younger to me, so I have the authority to bless him. I wish that the words ‘prime minister-in waiting’ before Advani’s name disappear and instead, it becomes prime minister Advani,” he said. — PTI

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