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Top BJP leaders assert PM Modi will keep leading govt; Nadda says Oppn leaders know 'rahega to Modi hi'

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New Delhi/Hyderabad, May 11 (PTI) Senior BJP leaders, including Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, asserted on Saturday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will complete his full term if elected to power, refuting the Aam Aadmi Party's claim that Modi wants Shah to succeed him after turning 75 next year.

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Addressing AAP workers and supporters a day after his release on interim bail, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that Modi wants to pass on the baton to Shah as the BJP follows the practice of retiring its leaders after they are 75 years of age.

Hitting back, BJP president J P Nadda said the opposition alliance has no policy and programme to counter Modi. Rattled after sensing defeat, Kejriwal and other opposition leaders are now solely devoted to misleading the country and are talking about an irrelevant issue of Modi's age, he said.

"There is no such provision regarding age in the BJP's constitution," he asserted.

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"The opposition should not be happy and harbour no illusion. Modi is our leader and will continue to lead us in the future," Nadda asserted.

He said the INDIA bloc and "the leader who has come out of jail also know that 'aayega to Modi hi, rahega to Modi hi' (Only Modi will come to power and he will remain there)".

Replying to a query, Shah also told reporters in Hyderabad that there was no such age bar mentioned in the BJP's constitution, asserting that there was no confusion in the BJP over the matter.

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He said, "I want to tell Arvind Kejriwal and company and the whole INDI Alliance that they need not be happy when Modi turns 75. Modi will complete his term. And he will continue to lead the country.

"There is no confusion in the BJP on the issue. They (Opposition) want to create this confusion." In a post on X, Defence Minister Singh echoed Shah's stand.

He said the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is contesting the elections under Modi's leadership and that he will become the prime minister for a third term and complete his tenure.

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There is no confusion over it in the BJP, NDA or among people, he said.

Singh said the kind of loose statements Kejriwal made following his release from jail made it clear that the ruling alliance under Modi is headed to a splendid victory.

In their despair over their defeat, the opposition alliance has lost its mind, he said, asserting that while Modi symbolises credibility in politics, Kejriwal stands for the crisis of credibility in politics.

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"The INDI Alliance which is unable to decide on its leadership is speculating unsuccessfully about our leadership... Modi is in the BJP's heart. INDI alliance leaders do not have even an ounce of the acceptability and credibility that Modi has among people," he said.

The country is assured that Modi will further strengthen the resolve to build a developed India and take the country to new heights after becoming prime minister for a third term, the former BJP president said.

BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said Kejriwal's succession claim was an acknowledgement on his part that Modi is set to retain power for a third term.

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Kejriwal had earlier claimed that Modi was asking for votes for Shah.

"These people ask the INDIA bloc about their (PM) face. I ask the BJP who will be their PM. Modi ji is turning 75 on September 17 next year. He had made the rule that people aged 75 would be retired. They retired LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sumitra Mahajan," Kejriwal said.

"He (Modi) will retire next year. He is seeking votes for making Amit Shah the prime minister. Will Shah fulfil Modiji's guarantee?" the CM, out on bail in a money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam, said.

Since Modi led the BJP to power in 2014, a number of party leaders were eased out of electoral politics and government positions on the grounds of their advanced age.

Party leaders had suggested that the leadership wanted veterans to opt out after crossing 75 years of age so that a new crop of leaders could emerge.

However, it was never an absolute practice and was not followed in many cases. B S Yediyurappa took over as Karnataka chief minister at 76 years in 2019.

With Modi being the party's mascot and most popular leader by far, he is expected to lead the party in the foreseeable future.

Kejriwal's comments about the so-called succession plan in the BJP are being seen by the ruling party as an attempt by the Delhi chief minister to create some flutter and inject a new dimension in the battle of narratives between the rival sides in the poll season. PTI KR/SJR RT RT

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