L K Advani,deputy prime minister in the outgoing Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, has hailed Dr Manmohan Singh's selection as India's next prime minister.
In an exclusive conversation with rediff.com Advani hoped that Dr Singh's government would continue the policy of evolving a consensus on issues of national importance.
"It is a matter of pride to have Dr Manmohan Singh as the prime minister of India. I offer him my good wishes for being elected to this post. As an Opposition we hope the country will continue to make the kind of progress it has made under Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government under Dr Singh's able guidance. We hope that on issues of national importance the new dispensation will continue the politics of consesus," Advani said.
He declined to comment when asked if he considered Dr Singh's selection as prime minister as a moral victory for his Bharatiya Janata Party. "I am not going to say anything on this," he said.
Sushma Swaraj, parliamentary affairs minister in the Vajpayee government, had threatened to resign from the Rajya Sabha, shave her head, wear white, sleep on the floor and eat only roasted gram if Congress President Sonia Gandhi became prime minister. K N Govindacharaya, the former BJP ideologue who was isolated in his party after he described Vajpayee as the BJP's mukhota (mask), threatened to launch an agitation if a person of foreign origin was sworn in as prime minister.
Both Swaraj and Govindacharya met President A P J Abdul Kalam on Tuesday and presented a memorandum against Sonia Gandhi becoming prime minister.