New Delhi: Senior BJPleader LK Advani kept alive the suspense over his intentions of becoming BJP`s prime ministerial candidate in the next elections, saying a
decision will be taken by the party when the time comes.
"Who will become the Prime Minister will be decided by
the party when the elections come. This decision is not being
taken now. There are three years to go for the election. It is
another matter that this government is working in a manner
that it appears it may fall anytime," Advani told reporters in
reply to a question.
"People feel whether they have to bear this government
for three more years... The fact is that the decision as to
who will be the leader will taken by the party. We do not have
dearth of leaders," Advani said.
Though Advani has not said he is in the race for prime
ministership, by not ruling out that his yatra could be aimed
at keeping him in the fray, he has kept the issue alive.
His statement in Nagpur recently- soon after meeting
RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat- had been an indication that he is not
in the race as he said what the "RSS, Jan Sangh, BJP, fellow
party workers and the country had given him was much more than
the PM`s post".
Advani`s decision to undertake this yatra has
reportedly antagonised some of his senior party colleagues who
were eyeing the PM candidate post. Most prominent among them
is Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Advani plans to focus on issues of Black money, Lokpal,
judicial accountability and electoral reforms during the
Advani refuted reports in some sections of the media
that he had talked to Modi yesterday and sorted out the
"Party has to deal with a lot of questions and it deals
with them. I was surprised myself (to hear this report). I
have not talked to Modi in the last two-three days and people
are writing all kinds of things. I would request the media to
cross-check facts before writing," he said.
Advani maintained that he did talk to Modi some days
back and the latter had told him he would be there when the
Yatra enters Gujarat and would welcome it.
The 83-year old leader will start his Yatra tomorrow
from Jayprakash Narayan`s birthplace. He said during the yatra
he will emphasise on the issue of Black money stashed by
Indians abroad and the need to bring it back to the country.
"I came to know that the government has got the names
of those Indians who have kept their money in tax havens
abroad. Political parties should create pressure on the
government to reveal these names. Government should also come
out with a White Paper on the issue," Advani said.
He lauded the civil society for raising the issue of
corruption and black money and starting a debate around it.
"I salute civil society members for raising the issue
of black money and corruption. They have spread awareness
about these issues. My aim is to spread it further," Advani
said, adding that civil society can perform a role only upto a
point and beyond it the political parties have to take over.
"The health of democracy depends very much on the
political parties, their health and their clean politics. My
emphasis will be to spread awareness about good governance and
clean politics," he said.
Advani hit out at the UPA government, alleging that
there was a lack of leadership within the dispensation and
this had led to scams and price rise.
"There has been an ethical decline in UPA`s conduct of
government affairs and of politics and this has been the
principle reason for the anger of people against the
government and their skepticism of parliamentary democracy
itself," he said.
Advani charged that the government does not want to
share names of those Indians having Swiss accounts and there
are reportedly some whose names the government wants to hide.
He insisted that through his yatra he wants to reach
out those people in parts of the country who do not attend
rallies and do not have access to television.
Asked if Team Anna was challenging democracy- a
reference to Arvind Kejriwal`s statement that Anna Hazare is
above Parliament- he said, "I do not know in what context the
statement was made.... I think the Parliament is above all....
I don`t think they are challenging democracy as then they
would not have come to us to discuss the Lokpal Bill."
He insisted that the civil society movement had created
an atmosphere for probity in public life.