New Delhi: Firebrand BJP leader Uma Bharti on Thursday extended her full support to party veteran LK Advani’s candidature as Prime Minister, saying that he is the only leader who can challenge the UPA government.
Uma, the former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, while addressing a public meeting in Varanasi, said, "Advani ji is the only leader who can displace the Congress-led UPA government at the centre. Advani`s yatra would bring an end to UPA rule and pave way for government with Advani as the PM."
Her reaction came shortly after another BJP big shot Yashwant Sinha expressed his prime ministerial aspirations and said there are many "capable" Prime Ministerial candidates in the party.
However, Sinha said that a decision on whether or not to project anybody would be taken close to the Lok Sabha elections only. Sinha also attempted to downplay the reports of differences between Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
"It`s merely a media creation and nobody is talking so within the BJP," the former Union Minister told reporters on the reported tussle between Advani and Modi because of their perceived ambitions for Prime Ministership.
"Since, the debate within Congress is gaining ground that AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi could take over the mantle from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before completion of the present term of UPA ministry, media, in a balancing act, has created similar plot in the BJP too," he said.
Asked whether Advani or Modi was a better candidate for Prime Ministership, Sinha shot back, saying there are many leaders in the BJP capable of occupying the PM`s post. He, however, did not identify any of them.
On whether he could also be a candidate, the former Finance Minister said, "Why not. Does anybody have doubt on my capability?"
He said the party would decide close to the elections who should be projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate or whether or not anybody should be projected at all.
When pointed out that Advani`s Jan rath yatra was seen as linked to his Prime Ministerial ambitions, Sinha sought to emphasise that the two were not linked.
Describing the yatra as a political movement against corruption, he said it should not be seen from narrow prism of "Modi-versus-Advani" fight for Prime Ministership. He also supported the timing of the launch of the yatra, which began from Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan`s native place in Sitabdiara in Bihar.
"The timing and venue for the start of Jan rath yatra from Sitabdiara of Advaniji is perfectly timed," Sinha said, adding there could not have been any other auspicious date than JP`s birth anniversary for launching the campaign like this.