New Delhi: The issue of whether he was still in the race for BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate figured on Tuesday at the 85th birthday celebrations of L K Advani who turned emotional as party colleagues praised him for his leadership.
"He is a natural choice for the PM post...," said former party president Rajnath Singh, who along with a hoard of BJP leaders, including Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley and Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, wished Advani at his residence here on his birthday.
Advani, born in 1927 in Karachi, had taken a break from his ongoing yatra across the country against corruption, to celebrate his birthday.
As the senior leaders heaped praise on Advani, the octogenarian leader appeared emotional several times during the programme. He was seen wiping tears and even left the dais for a few minutes to regain his composure.
In his speech, Rajnath Singh raised the issue of Advani being in the race for PM candidate of the party.
"When I read in the papers about Advani being in the reckoning for PM post, I feel pained. Will a person of Advani's stature ever present his claim for Prime Ministership?.... He is a natural choice for the PM post. It is painful to see these reports in the media," Singh said.
He recalled that as BJP president he had gone to former Prime Minister and senior leader Atal Bihari Vajyapee before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls to know who should be the party's Prime Ministerial candidate.
"Atalji said that if anybody is to be projected as Prime Ministerial candidate it is Advani. Then for the Parliamentary Board it was a mere formality to declare him the candidate," Singh said.