- Dire need of leadership which can debate with PM, the BJP veteran said
- Discussions across party lines almost finished, must be revived, he added
- Murli Manohar Joshi has been openly critical of his party's leadership
India needs a leadership that can speak fearlessly in front of the Prime Minister and argue with him, BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi said on Tuesday. He also said the practice of discussions cutting across party lines on issues of national and international importance was "almost finished" and must be revived.
The former union minister made the comments at a tribute for senior Congress leader Jaipal Reddy, who died in July.
"I believe that today, there is a dire need of a leadership which expresses views clearly, can debate with the Prime Minister based on principles, without any hesitation and not worrying about making him happy or sad," Mr Joshi said in Hindi.
#WATCH: Murli Manohar Joshi, senior BJP leader says,"I think there is a need for such a leadership today which expresses views clearly, can debate with the Prime Minister based on principles, without any inhibition and not worrying about making him happy or sad." (3/9) pic.twitter.com/Yk59BRnky0— ANI (@ANI) September 4, 2019
The comments have drawn attention because the 85-year-old BJP leader has been critical of his party's leadership and, earlier this year, was openly resentful of being denied a chance to contest the election. Since 2014, Mr Joshi, along with LK Advani, has been among the BJP leaders forced into retirement in the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah era.
At yesterday's event, Mr Joshi recalled that Jaipal Reddy, when he was a minister, was part of a key forum for discussions on Intellectual Property Rights in the 1990s and would often veer from the government line.
There was also a forum in Parliament that used to keep having face-offs with the then prime minister on various issues, Mr Joshi said.
"There used to be an attempt (in various forums) of having people from different parties to try and form an opinion on national and international issues. Those attempts have become scarce, in fact, are almost finished. It is important to revive such practices," said the senior leader.
Others present at the event were Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.