Modi has all prime ministerial qualities: Sangma

Shillong, July 12 (IANS) Narendra Modi has "all the qualities of a prime minister", former Lok Sabha speaker Purno Agitok Sangma said Friday adding that the Gujarat chief minister will become prime minister provided the BJP has the numbers in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

"He (Modi) has popular support in the Hindi-speaking belt, but is yet to reach out to people in the South (India). If the BJP comes to power, I am sure he will be the next prime minister, as he also has all the qualities of a prime minister," Sangma told journalists here.

"In the next two months, when he moves across the country, probably as a prime ministerial candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), we would know how much support he gets in other parts of the country. But I see he (Modi) will be acceptable to all as he has proven his style of governance, development and delivery mechanisms," he added.

Asked whether Modi's "anti-secularism" will affect his prime ministerial candidature, Sangma said: "It was only a political propaganda material against him. I don't think it will affect him. If you look at the recent elections in Gujarat, you will see that Modi has swept in Muslim-dominated areas."

However, Sangma, who floated his tribal-centric political party, the National People's Party (NPP), questioned the Congress party's stand on secularism, saying that the Congress party usually sends Christian leaders to Christian-majority states for election campaigns.

Sangma, who calls himself a "devout Christian", recalled his days as a senior Congress leader and how the Congress party usually sent him and other Christian leaders like Margaret Alva and C.M. Stephen to northeastern states like Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya to campaign during the elections.

"...I myself don't know the exact meaning of secularism, but as I understand secularism is nothing but tolerance," he said.

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