Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani on Thursday welcomed the Congress' announcement that Dr Manmohan Singh would be its prime ministerial candidate in the ensuing elections, but said Dr Singh should enter Parliament by contesting polls in a Lok Sabha constituency, instead of taking the Rajya Sabha route.
"It is good that United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi has finally announced its prospective premier's name, setting at rest a whirlpool of speculations," the National Democratic Alliance's prime ministerial candidate told an election rally in Arunachal Pradesh.
However, Advani said Manmohan Singh would be more acceptable to the common people only if he becomes a Lok Sabha member. The former deputy prime minister said he was ready for a live debate with Manmohan Singh on various issues.
Dubbing Manmohan Singh as the 'weakest prime minister the country ever had', the leader of the saffron brigade said, "He cannot do anything without getting a green signal from 10 Janpath (Sonia Gandhi's residence). A minister posted at the Prime Minister's Office takes the PM's proposals to Gandhi; without her nod, he cannot move."
Advani said even former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, who was an elected representative in the Lok Sabha, had worked with more authority.
Talking to reporters, the senior BJP leader said that Nationalist Congress Party leader Purno A Sangma was trying to unite all anti-Congress forces in the north eastern region.
"This is a good job and I have respect for Sangma," Advani said. Later, at another election rally at Tinsukia in Assam, Advani claimed that UPA's partners were deserting it.
"Just now I have come to know that the Pattali Makkal Katchi has left the UPA. They are becoming weaker and we are getting stronger everyday," he said.
The BJP was making alliances with different political parties in the country, including the Asom Gana Parishad, to root out the Congress from power, he added. Referring to the issue of infiltration, Advani said, "The Congress government is colluding with the infiltrators and protecting them for their narrow political interests."
Advani also promised to make an all out effort for what the over 1.53 lakh people living in the world's largest inhabited river island , Majuli, have been aspiring for the UNESCO World Heritage Site tag.
NDA's prime ministerial candidate who paid a visit to Majuli in the bosom of Brahmaputra river under Lakhimpur Parliamentary constituency in eastern Assam, pledged that if the NDA voted to power, it would launch an all out effort to secure UNESCO World Heritage Site status for Majuli island, the centre for neo-vaishnavite culture and tradition in the region and an important place in the country's cultural and tourism map.
Addressing a meeting of party workers of the BJP and its ally, AGP at Garmur in Majuli, Advani criticised the Congress-led UPA government for failing to solve the serious problem of flood and erosion that is threatening to eat away Majuli's land mass.
Additional reportage: PTI