Concerned over fissures within NDA on the issue of declaring the Gujarat chief minister the PM candidate of NDA, Singh made a “final appeal” to his party leaders not to speak on the issue.
“I want to humbly appeal to BJP workers and leaders that there should be no statement from them on who will be the candidate for the Prime Minister's post. As I have said earlier, the BJP convention is that any decision on the chief ministerial or prime ministerial candidate is taken by the Central Parliamentary Board,” he said.
Singh's comments came in the wake of demands from BJP leaders like Ram Jethmalani and Yashwant Sinha that Modi be made the party's PM candidate. Other leaders have also reacted in the media to the debate, resulting in spilling out of the differences over the issue within NDA.
President of BJP's key ally JD(U) Sharad Yadav also demanded an end to the “mad rush” among NDA leaders to speak on the issue.
Yadav, who is also NDA convenor, said parties of the BJP-led alliance should rather focus on key issues confronting the nation like corruption, unemployment and economic crisis.
“I have never seen such a mad rush for prime ministership in the last six decades,” Yadav said.
JD(U) has reservations about Modi being made the PM candidate of NDA.
No sooner had Rajnath Singh issued his directive, former Bihar BJP chief C P Thakur reiterated his support for Modi for PM, saying the party would gain from it.
Insisting that Singh has not issued a gag order, Thakur said, “BJP will gain (by declaring Modi the candidate). By declaring him (Modi) the candidate BJP will certainly gain because of many factors... There is a feeling among the people that he should be the candidate.”
In Patna, another BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha backed Yashwant Sinha who has openly pitched for declaring Narendra Modi as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate.
“Yashwant Sinhaji is a senior and an experienced leader. He never talks light. He speaks only after giving deep thought on an issue, I stand with him on what he has said,” Sinha told reporters here.
“There is always truth in what he says I have always been by his side ideologically,” Shatrughan said.
Thakur maintained since Congress has taken a decision on who will be their PM candidate, BJP should also declare the name of its candidate.
“There is no harm in declaring the name. Good or bad we must decide and there should not be any confusion in the minds of the public and leaders that he will lead the party,” he said.
He claimed making Modi a candidate for PM is important also as there has been a lot of “anti-news” against Modi for long. “This negative publicity will turn into positive (if Modi is declared the candidate),” Thakur said.
He also demanded that BJP call a meeting of its Parliamentary Board to declare the name of its PM candidate as polls may be held just after the Union Budget is presented.
Singh had earlier expressed concern over the clamour among BJP leaders for declaring the PM candidate.
“Whether to speak, who will speak or not speak, what he will say (on such an issue) is all decided by the Central Parliamentary Board. So, if any question is asked by the media, then all leaders should say that a final decision on the issue will be taken by the Central Parliamentary Board,” he said.
Singh had issued a similar directive earlier but it seems to have had little impact on the BJP leaders.
“I am making this appeal as our leaders usually behave within the prescribed limits and such comments hurt everybody. I am not going to make this appeal that I am making, again,” he said.
NDA ally Shiv Sena has expressed support for Sushma Swaraj as Prime Ministerial candidate.
BJP is said to be under pressure from Sangh Parivar affiliates like VHP to declare Modi as the PM candidate but the party's top brass is reportedly divided on the issue.
Yadav insisted that the debate should end.
“Enough of such discoveries have been made, now this unnecessary tendency to discover (Prime Ministerial candidate) should come to an end and people should pay attention to real issues of corruption, unemployment and FDI in multi-brand retail,” Yadav said.
The JD-U leader said, “I appeal to all to stop further discovering on this. This unnecessary search for Prime Ministership should end.”