Union minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nitin Gadkari has said party patriarch L K Advani deserves to be the President of India, a post commensurate with his stature.
Appearing on Rajat Sharma's show 'Aap ki Adalat' on India TV, the Union road transport minister said it would not have been proper had he (Advani) been made the Lok Sabha Speaker as the party veteran has already been deputy prime minister.
"Advaniji was deputy prime minister and it would not have been proper had he been made the Speaker. Advaniji deserves to become the nation's President," Gadkari said, according to a press release issued by the channel.
"All of us respect Advaniji and we want that he should get a post commensurate with his stature," he said.
Gadkari said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken a conscious decision not to induct ministers above the age of 75 years due to which some senior party leaders like Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi did not find a place in the Union Cabinet.
Comparing the party seniors with Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan who cannot play the role of a hero now as the generation has changed, the former BJP president said even he may be replaced ten years from now to make way for new people.
He dismissed as media speculation reports that Joshi wanted to become deputy chairperson of Planning Commission.
"Joshiji is our think tank, our senior leader. Our party will surely utilise his vast knowledge and experience," he told the channel.
Gadkari praised the prime minister's style of working and said he listens to ministers' views and accepts some of them but himself has an understanding of issues and knowledge about departments.
"It is not true that ministers are afraid of the PM. It's an issue of image versus reality and ground reality versus perception...The PM goes into the knitty-gritty of each issue. That's why departmental secretaries fear him," he told the channel.
Giving indications of things to come, he said while asking for funds from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley he is told that there are no funds even for existing schemes.
"The economy needs bitter medicine and only bitter medicine can restore one's health. It will take time," he said.
Image: Senior BJP leader L K Advani with Prime Minister Narendra Modi