Even as debate rages over credentials of next prime minister, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Madhya Pradesh minister, Babulal Gaur, on Monday termed Narendra Modi as a 'secular' leader.
"Narendra Modi desh ke dusre Vallabh bhai Patel hain...shudh secular hain," (Narendra Modi is another Vallabh bhai Patel of this country...He is secular to core), the municipal administration minister told a press conference after unveiling the "Narmada River Conservation Plan" of the state government.
He was replying to a query on who will be National Democratic Alliance prime ministerial candidate for 2014 polls.
The BJP had projected L K Advani as its prime ministerial candidate in 2009 elections.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's recent remark that the 'NDA nominee for the top post should have secular credentials', ruffled the feathers of BJP and created a rift between the lead NDA constituent and its ally Janata Dal-United.