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Jul 05, 2013 at 05:47pm IST

Rajnath Singh calls Narendra Modi the most popular leader, says BJP has no personality cult

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh on Friday praised Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's leadership even as he maintained there is no personality cult in the BJP and the party runs on ideologies. He also said that "there is no scope for one man show in the party" while speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai.

Playing down the appointment of Modi as the party's campaign committee chief for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Rajnath said "for every polls, the BJP has a campaign committee and since Narendra Modi is the most popular leader in India today, he was chosen for the post".

The BJP President also refuted reports that there were differences within the party over Modi's elevation. "All decisions in the BJP are taken collectively," he insisted.

When asked about the letter senior BJP leader LK Advani had written expressing his displeasure about Modi's appointment, Rajnath said, "Advani has never targeted BJP leaders. He is one of the founders of the BJP and he always works for the betterment of the party." He added that Advani's motives cannot be questioned just because he did not attend the National Executive in Goa. Rajnath added that Advani was unwell when the Goa meet was held and so he did not attend it.

Rubbishing allegations that Modi knew about the encounter in which 19-year-old college girl Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in 2004, he said, "Allegations against Modi in Ishrat Jahan case is a political conspiracy by the Congress." "Narendra Modi cannot be involved in any fake encounter," the BJP leader reiterated.

Claiming that under Modi's rule in Gujarat there was no discrimination on the basis of religion, he said that Muslims and Christians are also prospering in the state.

Rajnath added that the Congress has been using the CBI and other institutions to target its rivals and said "Modi is being deliberately harassed by the Congress". He also asked the UPA government to clarify which organisation Ishrat Jahan was related to.

The Gujarat Police had claimed that Ishrat Jahan and three others were LeT members who had come to Gujarat to assassinate Modi.

Talking about the BJP's plan for the Lok Sabha elections, Rajnath said his party leaders and workers will go to the people with positive issues and will also highlight UPA's shortcomings. "Congress is playing communal politics," he said when asked to comment of Congress leader Digvijaya Singh's allegations that the BJP will trigger communal riots before the next Lok Sabha election to polarise the voters.

The BJP President also said that they will have pre-poll alliance with many parties. He, however, refused to disclose the names of the parties. The BJP lost one of its key allies - the Janata Dal United - in June. The JD(U) broke tie with the NDA over Modi's elevation.

Rajnath also expressed hope of winning seats in Uttar Pradesh. "BJP will try to win maximum seats in Uttar Pradesh and so Amit Shah has been made the state in-charge," he said. He also rubbished speculations that the BJP was only focussing on social media to reach out to people. "Elections cannot be won only through social media," he said.

The BJP President said he does not aspire to be the Prime Minister of the country and said, "I cannot become an Advani or Vajpayee."

He also targeted the Congress-led UPA for pushing the Food Security Ordinance alleging that the ruling coalition was only using it as a tool to get more votes. "Food security is actually vote security," said Rajnath.

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