Allahabad: Amid talks within BJP over prime ministerial candidate, party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on February 1 called Narendra Modi a "towering symbol of nationalism" having country-wide appeal, but said there were a number of "capable leaders" and decision will be taken at appropriate time.
"Narendra Modi has definitely emerged, over the years, as a towering symbol of nationalism with proven record of providing good governance and tackling terrorism and lawlessness," Naqvi told reporters here.
"Although he is the Chief Minister of Gujarat, his popularity has been gradually growing outside the state and it would not be wrong to say that he has gained a country-wide appeal," he said. The BJP leader, however, hastened to add, "We, in the BJP, are proud of the fact that we have a number of capable leaders who have the skill to face any type of challenge. "A formal decision (with regard to projecting a Prime Ministerial candidate) will be taken at an appropriate time," he said.
"BJP is not a party in which leaders are chosen on the basis of the family they are born in. It is a party wherein all start off as dedicated workers and rise through the ranks through sheer hard work," Naqvi said in an apparent reference to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Naqvi said the UPA government at the Centre seems to derive "sadistic pleasure" whenever the people of the country suffer on account of a fresh spurt in prices. When asked about his visit here, the BJP leader said he had come to take a holy dip in the Sangam at the ongoing Maha Kumbh congregation. "I will also offer prayer with the wish that the people of the country get rid of a corrupt and insensitive government."
Meanwhile, sources in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad claim that a number of top BJP leaders, including Modi himself, may attend the meeting of VHP's Kendriya Margadarshak Mandal on February 6 or a Sant Sammelan on February 7.
On February 1, VHP leader Ashok Singhal had stressed on the need for having people "sensitive towards Hindus" in the Parliament, though he had evaded a comment on projecting Modi for the top post. VHP strongman Pravin Togadia is known to share cold vibes with Modi, but the Gujarat Chief Minister is hailed by many in the Sangh as 'Hindu Hriday Samrat (Ruler of Hindu Heart)'.