Decision on BJP's PM candidate only by consensus: Rajnath
Asserting that there is "no race" for prime ministership in his party, Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh has said that the decision in this regard would be taken by the central parliamentary board -- the highest decision making body of the party.
"There is a system in BJP as to who would be projected as a chief ministerial candidate or a prime ministerial candidate. The proper forum to take decision is only central parliamentary board," he said in a media interaction in Washington, DC.
"No doubt, I am the chairman of the central parliamentary board. But it is always by consensus that the central parliamentary board has taken a decision on chief ministerial and prime ministerial candidate," Singh said in response to questions on Wednesday.
Responding to a question on projecting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate, he said Modi is a "very very popular" leader of the country.
But no decision has been taken yet as to who would be the party's prime ministerial candidate, he asserted.
"At the suitable moment, I will call meeting of the central parliamentary board. Whatever the decision would be taken, would be on the basis of consensus," he said, and refrained from giving out any names as contender for the post.
"There is no problem on declaring a prime ministerial candidate," he said when asked if there are internal differences within the party on taking such a decision at this point of time.
"This is because, till date this has been BJP's tradition that there has never been a race for this (posts of chief minister and prime minister).
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Image: BJP president Rajnath Singh
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
'We do not have race in our party'
"We do not have a race in our party. It is only in the BJP which has such a healthy tradition," he said.
But since the government is of the Congress, it is for them to tell who their prime ministerial candidate would be, Singh observed.
Responding to questions on consensus on elevating Modi in the party's leadership ladder, Singh asked: "If there was no consensus, how as a president could I have appointed as chairman of the election committee?"
Singh said that he personally did not raise this issue with anyone during his meetings with US lawmakers, think tanks and experts while in Washington, but this was brought to his notice by some of the people who he met.
"From my side, I did not raise the issue," he said.
Some also questioned the rationale behind not issuing visa to Modi, he noted, but refused to identify names of such individuals.
"I told them that this is not an issue for us. This is an issue for the administration here," Singh said in response to a question.
Singh however did not respond to questions on 65 Members of Parliament writing letter to US President Barack Obama on not giving visa to Modi, except for pointing out that some of the signatories parliamentarians have disputed the authenticity of the letter and said that their signatures are forged.
"A very senior politician of India, Sitaram Yatchuri from CPI (M) said that this is not my signature," Sudhansu Trivedi, the BJP national spokesperson, pointed out at the media interaction.
Image: Gujarat CM Narendra Modi