On U.S. visit, BJP chief Rajnath Singh virtually anoints Modi as PM candidate

New York, July 21 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh, who is currently on a five-day visit to the United States, on Sunday, virtually anointed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate, saying the latter would be the man for the top job if the BJP returns to power after the 2014 general elections.

"It's not necessary that the party president should also be a crowd puller and a prime ministerial candidate. I have an assignment to do for my party. I have a job to deliver - that is victory of the party in the 2014 elections," Singh told media persons here.

"Seven months before the elections, I have nominated Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as chairman of the party's election campaign committee. What is unusual in that? We have nominated Modi like other parties do. So, why read between lines. I have named him as campaign head in view of his image, popularity and commitment to the party," Singh added.

The BJP president described Modi as India's most popular and tallest leader at present.

"He is a crowd puller not only in Gujarat, but also in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, from North to South, East to West. He is one single leader with a national appeal. His popularity will help the party in the elections," he said.

Singh further said that he was more interested in getting the BJP back to power at the Centre and packing off the Congress-led UPA, which was corruption-ridden and governing badly.

He said the BJP would rather engage in a debate on development than on the Ram Janma Bhoomi issue, adding that the Ram Temple issue has never been a major poll subject. He described it as a national issue at best.

BJP MP Ananth Kumar, and leaders Vijay Jolly and Sudanshu Trivedi are accompanying Singh on his foreign trip, which includes delivering a keynote address on India, Afghanistan and regional security at a conference in Washington on Tuesday.

Singh also maintained that the people of India have realized that the BJP is the only solution for a better performing nation.

He claimed that his party has brought about changes at the organizational level by forming polling booth committees in every booth.

The BJP President, when asked about the party's electoral defeats in Karnataka and other states, maintained that assembly elections and municipal polls are different from general elections where people vote for a stable government.

"We are confident that the failure of the Congress government will help the BJP return to power in the center. Any political party that aspires to come to power should give good governance and satisfy the needs of the people. If they fail in this front, they will be out of power," he said.

"If people want any change, the only choice is BJP who can provide an alternative to this government," he added.

He said the BJP would try to get a clear majority in the elections next year, and would not forget its allies - old and new.

On the Telengana state formation issue, Singh said that the BJP is in favour of Telengana, but not in favour of a bifurcation of Uttar Pradesh.

Ananth Kumar said Singh's visit to the U.S. is a two track outreach programme to assess the mood of three million Indian-Americans across the nation who occupy important and powerful positions besides being opinion makers. It's part of outreach programme to meet the Indian Diaspora.

Jolly said: "We (BJP) want to work closely with Non Resident Indians."

"BJP clearly is of the view India and the U.S. has a close correlation in internal and external security and a strategic partner being natural allies, he added. (ANI)


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