L.K. Advani is the BJP's "most seasoned" leader and no one can be the party's prime ministerial candidate without Advani's blessings, actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha said Tuesday.
"Whoever gets selected as the prime ministerial candidate should have Advaniji's blessings. He is the one who contributed the most for the growth of the BJP from two seats to 200 seats," Sinha told the media.
Asked if Advani would be most suited for the prime minister's post, the Lok Sabha MP said: "Advaniji is a statesman, more mature and seasoned than anyone.
"I like Advani more than Modi," he added, referring to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who has been widely projected as a possible prime ministerial candidate by his supporters.
Sinha, who is known for his frankness, expressed unhappiness over the sidelining of Advani in the Bharatiya Janata Party and its decision making process.
"It was wrong to sidelined Advani. It will not help the party."
Sinha described Advani as a godfather of the BJP. "(The sidelining) is not good for the health of the party."
Sinha admitted that Modi was "a very popular leader" but said his success was also linked to media hype.
"Narendra Modi is a friend and colleague, he is a very popular leader," he said.
"The kind of hype that has been created around him by the media and the party has made him very successful.
"If he is projected by the parliamentary board as the prime ministerial candidate, it will be a great thing but Advaniji should be at the helm of affairs."
At the same time, he said there was no one bigger or more popular than former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the BJP.
The BJP declined to react to Sinha's comments.
BJP spokesman Syed Shahnawaz Hussain said BJP president Rajnath Singh, now visiting the US, "will take note of it" when he returns to India.