BJP Should Project Modi as PM Candidate: Jethmalani

New Delhi
BJP Should Project Modi as PM Candidate: Jethmalani
Stirring the hornet's nest in BJP, Ram Jethmalani has strongly pitched for projecting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate in the next Lok Sabha elections.

In a letter to BJP President Nitin Gadkari, he said the party must declare its prime ministerial candidate to help convince the voters in its pre-2014 election campaign.

"I do not think that the choice is difficult...I would want Narendra Modi whose integrity and administrative ability are not in doubt," Jethamalani, a Rajya Sabha member, said in his two-page letter.

The party, which has kept the issue of Prime Ministerial candidate in the backburner with several contenders on the scene, got the letter from Jethmalani who said he wanted to attend the recent Surajkund meeting of the national executive to which he was not invited.

Speaking in favour of Modi, he said, "He has been a victim of diabolic propaganda directed to projecting him as an anti-minority bigot. This undeserved black spot is easy to erase. Every aspiring candidate should do some sincere introspection and discover his own disqualifications."

Referring to minorities, he said, they must be given complete assurance of security and opportunities for becoming prosperous and progressive.

"All past wrongs must be forgiven and forgotten. This requires projecting those who have earned the respect and confidence of the minorities," Jethmalani said.

When asked whether Gadkari was also in the race for Prime Ministership, he said, "I personally think that I will prefer Modi."

Jethmalani said Modi was "head and shoulders above many people in terms of integrity, in terms of efficiency."

He went on to say that not just declaring the Prime Ministerial candidate, the party must also form a "shadow cabinet" in advance.

"In fact a shadow cabinet must be projected with a clear pledge that one third of our cabinet will be non-party experts in their individual fields with impeccable reputation for integrity and intellectual ability. It is for such people that Rajya Sabha is primarily meant.

"It may cause heart burning to the disappointed ones but it is better to face it rather than leave the voters in uncertainty," Jethamalani said.

Stating that the BJP's election campaign in the next two years will be to highlight the ruling party's corruption which will be the main vote earner, he cautioned the BJP leaders to be above board.

"It is absolutely imperative that our leaders and candidates must have no skeletons in their cupboards," he said.

The lawyer-turned-politician said "We owe to our voters a correct exposition of our brand of secularism. Every religious belief, practice or expression is subject to the paramount needs of the Republic and its value system of public health morality and order."

Taking up the issue of black money, he said, "credible rumours are circulating that some of our aspiring leaders have announced 'black money is no issue' and our spokesmen are under instructions not to emphasis this matter in public."
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