Sushil Modi rallies behind Narendra Modi, says Advani 'failed' to read public mood

ModiAdvaniAdvani is said to be opposed to Modi being declared BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate. (AP photo)

IN the first open criticism from the party's top rung, former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said party patriarch L K Advani has "failed to gauge the public mood" and the "overwhelming popular sentiment" for declaring Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate at the earliest.

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"Advaniji has failed to gauge the public mood. Advaniji himself declared Atalji as PM candidate, now also he could have done the same for NaMo," Modi tweeted on Wednesday night.

"Politics is the only profession in which people aspire till their last. Ministerial berth can resurrect a dead politician," he also tweeted. However, speaking to The Indian Express, Modi said the two tweets "should not be read together".

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"I was returning from Sasaram and posted a general tweet on the ambition of aged politicians. It was never meant for Advaniji, who has been our mentor," he said, adding that he was going to Delhi on Friday for "personal reasons".

Modi, however, reiterated that there is "overwhelming popular sentiment" for the Gujarat CM. "During my Bihar tour after the NDA split, we got great support for Modi, not just from party workers but also from the common people. It would have been better if a leader of Advaniji's stature had come forward to support Modi's candidature, irrespective of when the BJP parliamentary board takes a call," he said.

He said the party had sensed the public mood and did not think it wise to delay the decision. "Any delay will only create confusion. Modi is our best bet and we should not hesitate to take it. People want change and Modi is the face of change," he said.

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