Has the PM conceded defeat in Gujarat? asks BJP

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New Delhi, Dec 11 (UNI) Ridiculing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement that the BJP had declared Leader of Opposition L K Advani as its Prime Ministerial candidate fearing threat from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP today accused the PM of oscillating between fact and fantasy.

Asked about the PM's comments in Vadodara to this effect, BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the PM had already conceded that Mr Modi had already won the Gujarat battle even before the votes for the first phase of polling were cast.

This comment has come out of the PM's frustration and his inability to perform and deliver despite occupying the highest executive chair of the country because he was being remote-controlled by someone in the party, he said, without taking any names.

Nevertheless, his admission that Mr Modi was a contender for the PM's post showed that he had already conceded defeat in Gujarat, Mr Rudy said.

The PM during his interaction with the media in Vadodara had stated that the BJP's announcement about Mr Advani seemed to have been prompted by intra-party infighting. The leadership was also apprehending threat from Mr Modi on the conclusion of Gujarat Assembly elections, Dr Singh had said, while taking a swipe at the saffron party.

Meanwhile, there has been a positive response from the leaders of the NDA to the choice of Mr Advani as as the BJP's PM candidate with several leaders congratulating him on the telephone. Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Janata Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav all called up Mr Advani to express their happiness over the saffron party's yesterday's decision.

BJP sources said the party had displayed maturity by stating that Mr Advani will be leading the party in the next election without hurting the sentiments of the NDA.

In the last two Lok Sabha polls, the party had declared Mr Vajpayee as the Prime Ministerial candidate leaving no scope for any ally.

UNI

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