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Excerpts from the interview

According to the transcript issued by CNN-IBN of Bhupendra Chaubey's interview with BJP Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani, this is how the Q&A went:

Bhupendra Chaubey: Let's switch on to a bigger question: are you the perennial Prime Minister-in-making?

L.K. Advani: One of the main strengths of my party has been that since 1951, when the Bharatiya Jan Sangh was founded, for many years Deen Dayal Upadhyay was the principal leader and decision-maker of the party. Subsequently, Atal Bihari Vajpayee took over and later on, because of his trust in me, he would also consult me on most issues. Even in the organisation, we two used to take decisions on most issues. But the strength of the party has been that it has been the cause of the party that has been [the] foremost part of our agenda.

Q: In 2009, the next Lok Sabha elections, will L.K. Advani look at himself as prime ministerial candidate or not?

A: According to the British tradition, the Leader of the Opposition is supposed to be the Prime Minister-in-waiting. But whether a person becomes a Prime Minister or not depends mainly on the people.

Q: What about the perception which exists within the party? Rajnath Singh was just re-nominated as the party president for a fresh three-year term. Don't you feel that he should be given a chance to be the Prime Minister? After all, he is the leader of the second largest party in Parliament.

A: That is a question for the party and the people to decide. In fact, when Vajpayeeji became the Prime Minister, I was the party president. I felt that it would be appropriate if I announced his name as the party's Prime Minister-in-waiting...

Q: Many years back, you proposed the name of Vajpayee to be the Prime Minister. Are you expecting Vajpayee to return the favour?

A: There is no question of anyone returning any favours of this kind. It is a question of assessment and I still think that it will depend a lot upon not only Vajpayeeji, but the whole party to decide who will be the Prime Minster.

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