Day after, Jaitley, Munde bat for Narendra Modi as PM candidate

Gopinath Munde

A day after Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said Narendra Modi is competent to become prime minister, BJP leader Gopinath Munde Sunday endorsed her view saying the "capability" of the Gujarat chief minister shows that he is a party candidate for the PM's post.

"Narendra Modi is one of the candidates for the PM's post in BJP and I support whatever Sushma Swaraj said about him. His capability shows that he is a candidate. Even (Bihar CM) Nitishji has said that he would support the BJP candidate for the PM's post, whoever he may be," Munde told reporters at the Vadodara airport in response to a question as to whether he considered Modi as BJP's PM candidate.

Munde said that looking at the huge support that the party and Modi enjoy in Gujarat, the BJP was all set to win the assembly elections by a huge margin. "In Gujarat, BJP and Modi have a huge support. We can say this after two days of campaigning in the state," he said.

Arun Jaitley, another senior party leader, said BJP is proud of the fact it had a leader like Modi and he is so popular and a "successful CM" that it is "natural" the party will keep his name "ahead" in the prime ministerial aspirants.

Another senior leader, Venkaiah Naidu who was in the state to address BJP rallies in the Panchmahals district, however, skirted a similar question, saying the party would decide its candidate for the top post at an appropriate time.

While Murli Manohar Joshi refused to talk to comment on the issue, in Patna, Bihar BJP chief C P Thakur claimed that Sushma's endorsement of Modi was the "broad view" of the entire party leadership.

"Sushmaji's endorsement of Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate in the next general elections represents the broad view of the party leadership and not her personal opinion," Thakur said. "Not only Sushmaji, but the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and other senior leaders have echoed similar sentiments in favour of Modi," he claimed, adding that the final decision would be taken at an appropriate forum of the party in due course of time.

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