New Delhi: There is ‘no question mark’ on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the party will ‘soon’ decide its prime ministerial candidate, BJP president Rajnath Singh said.

"The decision on the prime ministerial candidate will be taken at the right time and it may be soon," Rajnath Singh said on Thursday.

Asked if Modi could be the party's choice for the Prime Minister's post ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha battle, he refused to make a comment but said Modi's popularity cannot be denied. "There is no question mark on the popularity of Modi,” he said.

When asked about the reservations against Modi expressed by Janata Dal-United (JD-U), he said, “We are old allies, the alliance is strong. If there is a difference, we will sit and talk and sort it out."

The 61-year-old leader said the BJP was hopeful of forging new alliances. "New pre-poll alliances can be formed. If a party gets good numbers, many alliance partners join after the polls as well," he said.

He said the BJP was confident of getting more than 180 seats in the next Lok Sabha election. The BJP won 179 seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha in 1998 under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and 183 seats in 1999. "We can even get more than 180 seats. Surveys are showing the situation is in our favour," he said.

"We will get good number of seats in Uttar Pradesh, our target is 35 to 40,” he added.

Asked about the 2009 Lok Sabha poll debacle, Rajnath Singh said the situation had changed a lot since then. "In UPA I, there were not so many charges against the government as with UPA II. There was inflation, but people had hope things will improve. This time the situation is different, people have lost faith,” Singh said.

The BJP's recent electoral defeat in Karnataka would not affect the national mood, he asserted. Singh added that there was no proposal for now of reconciling with BS Yeddyurappa, the first BJP Chief Minister in Karnataka whose decision to split the BJP contributed to the party’s defeat.

Rajnath Singh made it clear that the BJP would not try to pull down the Manmohan Singh government. He also ruled out the possibilities of a Third Front. "The Third Front experiment has never been successful,” he said.


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