Downplaying contentions that Narendra Modi has shored up his claim for Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate after Gujarat victory, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Saturday said the chief minister faces a "bigger enemy within" and is a "dilemma" for his party and National Democratic Alliance leaders.
Singh also dismissed any comparisons between the chief minister and Rahul Gandhi, saying the Congress leader has an overarching appeal across the nation unlike Modi, "whose sphere of influence is limited to Gujarat" and asserted that "Rahul Gandhi will not project himself as the prime ministerial candidate" for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
He said the elections "will be fought under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and if we win, the party parliamentary board will decide" on the PM.
"The Congress has a legacy. We have put India on global map. How can we be afraid of anyone? Modi is a dilemma for the BJP and NDA leaders like Nitish Kumar, not for the Congress. Modi faces a bigger enemy within," Singh was quoted as saying during an interview to Headline Today in a press release from the news channel.
Singh was replying to a question on whether the Congress is afraid of Modi's ascent.
The Congress leader mocked at the BJP's "leadership crisis" saying "at least Modi is a mass leader, while other contenders are rudderless. BJP is stuffed with PM candidates, who do not even have a constituency.
He, at the same time, described Modi as a "mass leader...rooted to the ground" and "ahead in the race for PM candidates" within the BJP.
"Advani contests from Gujarat. Jaitley and Gadkari have never fought elections and Sushma is always on the hunt for a safe seat. Modi is the only leader rooted to the ground and he is ahead in the race for PM candidate."
Singh maintained that the RSS fears Atal Behari Vajpayee syndrome may again play out with Modi, but he "is a fait accompli for the Parivar even though he had already become bigger than the Sangh".
In remarks that can stir a controversy, the Congress leader alleged that BJP's storm troopers on the ground "muzzled" the Muslim power of franchise in Gujarat by paying them off to stay away from polling booths, and that this has been the strategy of the BJP for the last 15-20 years.