Advani says he has qualities to become prime minister


New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime minister hopeful L.K. Advani Thursday asserted that he has the right attributes for the country’s top job, days after prominent industrialists said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was fit for the post.

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He was responding to a questioner who asked him during an internet chat on if India did not need a younger prime minister who understood the global concerns and could think of a modern India.

Advani, 81, said: “The question you have asked, I think the important part of it is that you need to understand the global situation; and who can think of a modern India. These are the two essential attributes you rightly think are necessary to lead the country. I can humbly claim that it is possible for me to do so.”

Leading industrialists Anil Ambani and Sunil Bharti Mittal had Jan 14 publicly praised the BJP’s Narendra Modi and said he had the mettle to be the prime minister. They were attending an investors’ summit in Gujarat’s commercial capital Ahmedabad.

During the chat session, Advani told another questioner that he was in good health because he is a small eater.

He said: “I believe that a person’s mental and psychological health has a lot to do with his/her physical health. I am a small eater, some friends attribute my physical health to this fact.”

“Jokingly a doctor who met me a couple of months back said to me that he had a thesis in respect of food. When god creates man, he lays down the total amount of food he will consume in his lifetime, it depends entirely on him whether he takes 50 years to consume it or 70 years,” Advani said.

Advani said the aam-aadmi experienced the worst kind of price-rise in his life in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule.

“If I am not mistaken, the main Congress slogan for the last 2004 election was aam-aadmi. Has the Congress forgotten that it was immediately after their success that the aam-aadmi experienced the worst kind of price-rise in his life. Prices of all essential commodities rose sky-high. And in the worsening economic situation it is only joblessness that seems to have given some relief to the aam-aadmi from mehengai,” the BJP leader said.

Recalling the days he was deputy prime minister in Vajpayee’s government, Advani said: “The first task before an NDA government, if it is voted to power, would be to dispel the gloom and re-create the general climate of optimism and hope that obtained in the six years of Vajpayee’s rule.”

He said: “Presently, one of our groups is working on what precise steps need to be taken in the first 100 days to bring about this transformation.”

“The world had come to respect India (during the Vajpayee rule) and the general talk began that India would become a great power by the middle of the 21st century. Unfortunately, after the change in government in 2004, the mood has been becoming more and more desperate and these days as 2009 began, there have been more and more magazines with captions like 2008 has been the worst year in Independent India,” Advani said.