New Delhi: The Narendra Modi juggernaut has become stronger as it won its first endorsement from outside the BJP fold on Wednesday.
Punjab deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal extended his party’s support for Modi as the National Democratic Alliance’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections. “We are a smaller ally, so whoever the BJP decides we will abide by that... Narendra Modi is a good leader. He has done tremendous development work in his state,” Badal said.
Given that the SAD is the main political party of the Sikh community, Badal’s statement can be used as a tool to counter Modi’s anti-minority image.
This would also help Modi isolate the Janata Dal (United), which has been vehement in its opposition to his candidature.
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Responding to a question on the JD(U)’ s opposition to Modi, Badal said: “I don’t want to comment on what JD(U) does, but we will always be with the BJP.” The opposition to Modi, however, is not restricted to the JD( U).
BJP leader Uma Bharti said on Wednesday that popularity alone cannot be a criterion in deciding the party’s PM candidate.
“There are many leaders who might have lesser mass appeal but could be extremely efficient as PM,” she said. Sources in the BJP said Bharti is in favour of giving L.K. Advani another shot at the PM’s chair.
The ‘Modi for PM’ chorus has forced BJP president Rajnath Singh to issue gag orders to his party leaders. “Party members should work together to strengthen the party and should be restrained in what they say in a public forum. Leaders should maintain good conduct and should have patience,” Rajnath said.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.