'Vajpayee himself chose Advani as his successor': Singh

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Kochi, Jan 13 (UNI) Terming as ''unprecedented'' the friendship between BJP leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani in India's political history, BJP President Rajnath Singh today said the former Prime Minister had himself anointed the latter as his successor.

Addressing a meeting of the BJP State Council here, Mr Singh claimed that Mr Vajpayee himself told him recently that he would not be able to work like earlier due to health reasons.

''Mr Vajpayee said the party and the country needed a strong leader and there was no one better than Mr Advani to fit the bill,'' he said.

''He said he had worked closely with Mr Advani for over 50 years and found him to be a 'dynamic leader' and a man of 'character, commitment and conviction', Mr Singh said.

Dispelling speculation that Mr Vajpayee would still be inclined to play an active role if the party returned to power, he said ''Mr Advani will be the Prime Minister if the party comes to power.'' UNI ARC AJ AKJ BD1657

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