As the chorus from within the Bharatiya Janata Party for Narendra Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate grew loud, the Gujarat chief minister himself downplayed the talk saying Advani will be the party's PM candidate even for the 2014 elections.
"Advaniji will be our prime ministerial candidate even in 2014 elections," the 58-year-old Hindutva posterboy told PTI in an interview when asked whether he would be the next in line from BJP to make a bid for the top post after Advani.
Modi's comments came close on the heels of remarks by senior BJP leaders Arun Shourie, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu that they would be happy to see him as PM candidate even though they made it clear that Advani will be the party's prime ministerial candidate for the current poll.
Asked if he will be playing a role in national politics, Modi said, "the people of Gujarat have given me responsibility to be the chief minister. I have done nothing wrong that they should throw me out of state". On whether BJP's strategy to attack Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by calling him "weak" had backfired, Modi shot back saying, "The question here is not of attack on the prime minister, the question is of devaluation of prime minister's office".
Taking a swipe at Singh, Modi asked whether the country wanted a prime minister who was nominated and "dependent on a family" or an elected one. Anwsering a range of questions, Modi said the Third Front will exist till the day of voting and will cease to exist before the day of counting of votes. He parried questions on Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi.