Advani says he is not in race for PM’s post

Advani says he is not in race for PM’s post

Nagpur: Indicating that he may not be in the race for becoming the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate in the next elections, senior BJP leader L K Advani on Wednesday said the Sangh Parivar, his party and fellow workers had given him “much more" than what the top post holds.

“I would only say that I first became a Swayamsewak (of the RSS), then a member of the Jan Sangh and then the BJP. I feel that what I have got from these organisations, from my fellow workers and what the country has given me is much more than the Prime Minister’s post," he said.

He was replying to a question from reporters after meeting RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

There had been reports that the RSS is unhappy with Advani’s plans of starting a yatra against corruption. This was being interpreted as the senior leader’s attempt to throw in his hat for becoming the Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP in the next general elections.

Asked if this was the motive behind his yatra, Advani said, “I am afraid these are not related." Advani claimed he had come to Nagpur to seek Bhagwat’s blessings for the yatra.

“I met the RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat and asked for his blessings. He gave me his full support and blessings and wished him all the best for the yatra," Advani said.

He also met BJP president Nitin Gadkari and enquired about his health. Gadkari had undergone a bariatric operation on 12 September and is recuperating.

“The BJP president will come to Delhi on 24 September. I have asked him to make the announcement about the yatra. By then, the plan details will also be chalked out," Advani said.

Asked about details of the yatra, Advani said 11 October, which is the birth anniversary of veteran socialist leader Jaiprakash Narayan, was the tentative date. Sources said the yatra is likely to begin from Sitabdiara in Saran district of Bihar, which is the birth place of Narayan.

Advani made light of his meeting with Bhagwat, saying he keeps talking to him “informally".

“We meet whoever can make a big contribution to the yatra," he said.

The senior leader said he would go to BJP-NDA ruled states and insisted these were better governed than others despite having some shortcomings.

Advani said he was prompted to take out the yatra due to the 2008 cash-for-vote scam and the washout of the winter session of Parliament in 2010 over opposition demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe into 2G spectrum scam.

“But the precipitate action for the yatra was when our two MPs who had exposed the dirtiest scandal- by acting as whistleblowers- were sent to jail though they did a good job and a great service to democracy," Advani said.

Advani maintained that in Parliament, he had named finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and home minister P Chidambaram and told them that if the two MPs were guilty and then he was “even more guilty" and they should send him too to Tihar Jail.

“This worst scandal of independent India is a big blot not only on the political system but also democracy as MPs were on sale and the government was ready to buy them even if it cost them crores," Advani said.