BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday ruled out the resumption of any bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan anytime soon but said two countries would continue to play against each other in international tournaments.
“India and Pakistan will continue to play at international tournaments but neither India plays in Pakistan nor Pakistan plays in India,” Shah, who heads the Gujarat Cricket Association, said, a day ahead of the clash between the arch rivals in the Champions Trophy final in England.
Shah, who is in Maharashtra on a three-day visit to strengthen the party in the state, and is scheduled to meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, said BJP would consult its allies before finalising the NDA’s presidential candidate.
“We will consult all our allies and then reach a decision on the presidential poll nominee,” Shah told a press conference.
He was responding to questions about ally Shiv Sena, which has often been critical of the BJP and the Modi government, suggesting the name of M S Swaminathan, known for steering India?s Green Revolution, as its presidential choice.
The Shiv Sena had earlier said it may choose an “independent” path in the election to the highest constitutional office. It had backed Congress nominees—
Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee—in the last two presidential elections.
When asked about Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ remark that the BJP was prepared for snap assembly election, in an apparent reference to continued strain in ties with the Shiv Sena, Shah said, “What he meant was that if mid-term polls are forced on us, we are ready to fight.”
Calling Narendra Modi the most popular leader since Independence, Shah said the prime minister was making all efforts to transform India into a world power by 2022, when the nation celebrates 75 years of freedom.
Under Modi, he said, India had become the world’s fastest-growing major economy. The BJP chief said Modi had restored dignity to the prime minister’s office.
“Every minister in the previous UPA government considered himself the PM, but nobody considered the PM as PM,” he said.
Lauding Modi for enacting the Goods and Services Tax law, the BJP leader said nobody else had the “daring or capability” to do it.
“India has emerged as a global leader on the issue of climate change, as seen at the Paris deliberations,” Shah said.
Shah said the Modi government brought an end to politics of appeasement and dynastic rule.
“Our biggest achievement is ending communalism, dynastic rule and appeasement (politics),” he said.