India needs dependable face as leader: Uddhav Thackeray

New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray Friday said the country needed a strong government and a "dependable face" as its leader but refused to specify the name of the BJP leader his party found acceptable as the prime ministerial candidate.

Addressing the 92nd annual general meeting of Assocham here, Thackeray claimed that people were not sure who was the leader of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

The function was also addressed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh who said that "confidence and conviction" to steer the country forward was not visible in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Thackeray said he had come to Delhi after quite some time and was sure that the next government will be of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

He claimed that people did not know who was running the present government, asking: "Do you recall a face who is the leader?"

Stressing the need to bring a strong government, he said that there is "need of a dependable face".

Asked later to elaborate, Thackeray only said that "there were many dependable leaders".

He refused to specify if he was referring to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been appointed BJP campaign committee chief for the next Lok Sabha polls.

Shiv Sena, in the past, has backed BJP leader Sushma Swaraj as the prime ministerial candidate of NDA.

However, Thackeray earlier this week defended Modi's comments about being a Hindu nationalist and said that the decision of the Janata Dal-United to leave NDA was wrong.

In his speech, Thackeray said UPA government was running as a "pre-paid card".

"First pay money and then talk and when you dial, the reply often is that number is outside the network," Thackeray said.

"When our government comes, we will stop the pre-paid system. We will bring everyone in the network," he said.

Describing himself as an artist, the Shiv Sena chief said his father Bal Thackeray "had taught me to promise only that which I can fulfil".

He said the economy was booming during NDA rule and foreigners wanted to invest in the country, but today the situation had worsened.

"What is the image today. Who has destroyed the image," he said.

Terming globalization as economic world war, Thackeray said the world was seeing India as a market.

He said "Made in China" goods were flooding Indian market. "Where is 'Made in India'? Why not keep our market with us (Indian industry)," he said.

Thackeray also hit out at the UPA government over the tensions between the Intelligence Bureau and Central Bureau of Investigation in the Ishrat Jahan case.

"Is it a crime to kill terrorists," he said.

Rajnath Singh said India should have been "a super economic power" in the sixty years of its rule but it is not even in the queue of developed countries.

"The faith that NDA government generated among people is shattered. India does not lack potential," he said.

Attacking Manmohan Singh, he said the "prime minister should have confidence and conviction".

"It is not visible. I am seeing this from the time he (Manmohan Singh) was made prime minister," he said.

He said that the country did not necessarily need "an economist prime minister" but "a realist prime minister", terming former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as an example.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

Bangalore elect to field against Mumbai at Dubai. More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »