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PM candidate if health permits: Advani

Umariya (MP): Keeping alive the issue of his Prime Ministerial ambitions, senior BJP leader L K Advani has said he would decide on it depending on his "health" and "capability" to contribute at the time of Lok Sabha polls. The former Deputy Prime Minister, who is on his `yatra` against corruption, admitted that `satta parivartan` (change of government) was one of the objectives of his 38-day cross-country campaign.

"Satta parivartan is one of the objectives of this yatra… It is a political campaign," he told PTI in an interview when asked whether through his yatra it was a politician trying to play a social reformer. "However what will happen to my credibility if there is a change in government but corruption continues. My party has credibility because we have essentially some good governments in states and when there are issues like in Karnataka we take the steps," he said.

Asked whether his yatra was an attempt to reap political benefits using anger against corruption, he said that associating his party with "political dividend was not doing justice to his cause. "The issue is not a party or a leader but whether we will allow the government to indulge in corruption in this way," he said as he travelled on his `rath` from Satna to Umariya in Madhya Pradesh.

Advani was asked what his response would be if there was a consensus in the party on his name for the PM`s post. "It depends on my own assessment of how much I can contribute and health," replied the 84-year-old leader. .

Advani dismissed Uma Bharti`s comments where she said that anyone who raises the corruption issue from Varanasi goes on to occupy the top position, saying he had started his yatra from Sitabdiara in Bihar and not from Varanasi. On why BJP did not win the past two Lok Sabha elections if it had a track record as good as he claimed, the party veteran attributed the failure of 2004 to "over confidence". In the next elections, "the BJP could not project itself as a homogenous party," he added.

At the same time, Advani attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, claiming that "he is a failure" in the context of dealing with corruption. "It is not enough for the Prime Minister to be honest, the Prime Minister also has to stop others who indulge in corruption," he said.

"He is a failure, a failure for essentially failing to realise that it is at the Prime Minister`s desk that the buck stops," alleged Advani who had repeatedly termed Singh as a "weak" Prime Minister in the run up to 2009 polls.

Commenting on the Anna Hazare`s movement saying NGOs could not take the space of political parties. "Political parties cannot be replaced by an NGO. The difference between Anna Hazare`s approach to corruption and Jai Prakash Narain`s approach to corruption is that Jai Prakash never thought of saying that I will have nothing to do with political parties. He consciously brought together all political parties," he added.

As Advani answered questions, his daughter Pratibha, who is accompanying him on his yatra, was recording visuals of the BJP supporters.

Asked if he saw a political role for anyone in his family, Advani said one of the issues for which he was waging a political battle against the Congress was the culture of dynasty and he would not do anything that weakens his fight.

"Barring the BJP and Communist parties, almost all other parties are run by a family or an individual," Advani noted.

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