Narendra Modi is the only candidate that BJP will accept as the PM of a NDA government, BJP president Rajnath Singh said unequivocally on Wednesday.
“In every situation that emerges, only he (Modi) will become the PM,” Singh told ET in an interview. “Whatever anybody demands, there will be no change. As long as I am president of BJP, only Modi will be the prime minister.” Asked if this means that BJP would sit in the opposition rather than accede to demands for an alternative candidate, Singh replied in the affirmative.
“Rajnath Singh cannot do anything unethical,” he said. “The country wants to see Modi as PM.” The BJP chief denied he had been soft on Banerjee while she and Modi were trading barbs. “When I said if we form a government at the Centre we will give a financial package to West Bengal I had the welfare of the people of the state in my mind.”
He rubbished Banerjee’s demand that Modi should be jailed for his comments against Bangladeshi immigrants. “Why should Modi be jailed? Has he committed a crime? Law, and not any individual, decides who should be jailed.” Singh indicated he is not likely to be part of a Modi government and may continue as party president. He said, “I am already handling the responsibility of party president. How can a person hold two posts simultaneously? There are two more years left for my president-ship to end.
It would be unethical for any person (in BJP) to hold two posts.” Asked about reports that he has ambitions of becoming the deputy PM, he said, “The question does not arise.” As for the rising level of political invective, Singh said it was the Congress which had been trying to polarise people for electoral gains and his party should not be blamed for this.
Singh downplayed the significance of Modi recently addressing a BJP rally in Faizabad with an image of Lord Ram in the background. “The EC has taken cognizance of the matter. Our candidate concerned will reply. But are not the images of Lord Ram, Krishna, Shiva and Hanuman on the original copy of the Indian Constitution?” he said.
Asked about Priyanka’s “panicstricken rats” remark aimed at the BJP, Singh said, “I do not have words in my vocabulary to answer such statements. Who is a rat and who is a lion will be decided by the people.”
Singh rejected Priyanka’s accusation that Modi insulted the memory of her father Rajiv Gandhi by recalling the latter’s treatment of then AP CM T Anjaiah. “BJP does not insult anybody. It is others who are insulting us by calling BJP a thief and poisonous.”
Asked if Modi had broken the unwritten code of senior leaders not campaigning in the seats of the top brass of other parties when he did so in Amethi against Rahul, Singh replied in the negative. “Rahul had campaigned against me in Lucknow. He is also going to Varanasi.”
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