BJP leader and former minister Sushil Modi on Monday said he would be the prime minister if Prime Minister Narendra Modi wins the 2019 Gujarat Assembly elections, the latest in a series of high-stakes contests for the BJP’s prime ministerial slot.
In a rare public interview, Modi, 65, who was Gujarat Chief Minister for the last five years, said he was sure that he would succeed in his mission to lead the BJP.
Modi’s announcement came a day after a poll in Gujarat, the first time in decades that a BJP-led government had been elected to office.
It was a stunning turn of events, given that Modi’s Gujarat government was a close ally of former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
Modi has also ruled India with an iron fist since taking office in May 2017.
He said he did not know what the result of the polls would be, but said he had already decided.
“If Modi wins I will win.
If Modi loses I will not win,” he said.”
If he loses, then the PM will resign.
But if he wins, I will have a second term.”
Modi made a rare appearance on television and in a live chat show.
He did not address the Congress, which he led in the 2014 elections, or the Left Front which he leads in 2019.
Modi had a chance to address the crowd during the live-streaming of the event.
He turned away, saying the audience would have to wait for the news.
“I want to congratulate you on the election result,” Modi said.
“I will do everything I can to get you elected as prime minister.”
Modis comments came a week after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said that if Modi loses, the party would hold a joint general meeting of the party and state governments.
The Congress has not held such a meeting in more than a decade.
Modis popularity in Gujarat has soared in the past two decades and he has emerged as a top contender to become the country’s next prime minister.
His popularity has risen among women and the poor, who have long felt neglected by Modi’s rule.
He has been praised for his reforms, and his popularity among the middle class and the upper-caste has soared.