Published September 9, 2012 | 9:52 am
Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray Sunday expressed his admiration for Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj and said she was best suited to becoming the next prime minister.
“Presently, she is the most suited to the top post. I think she will make a dashing prime minister,” Thackeray said in the third edition of his marathon four-part interview published in the party mouthpiece “Saamna” Sunday.
“There is a long queue for the post of prime minister. Only Sushma is deserving, intelligent and could make an excellent choice for prime minister,” Thackeray said, effectively throwing cold water on the hopes of other prominent aspirants from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) like Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar or Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Thackeray also neatly side-stepped senior BJP leader L.K. Advani’s recent musings that the country’s next government would be formed by a non-United Progressive Alliance (UPA), non-NDA front.
“He (Advani) is nine months younger than me. Though I am senior to him and I have a right, I find it difficult to say anything against him. What can we expect from persons like him? Wonder why he said such a thing… Let it be,” Thackeray said, trailing off.
When asked about other third front aspirants like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Sharad Pawar or Jayalalithaa, Thackeray dismissed each of them on grounds that they only wanted the ‘chair’. He said that looking at the past records of each of these leaders, he did not think that any of them had made any significant contribution to the nation.
Referring to the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance in Maharashtra and whether it was “strong”, Thackeray diplomatically said that in the changed circumstances, that would not be an appropriate word to describe the alliance.
“The current thinking is different. There are personal and political enmities between individuals and parties within the NDA. In the past, the NDA had the commanding leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee. There is no such leader now, and I am talking about the entire NDA, not BJP,” he replied.