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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 06:15 GMT
India party declares PM candidate
LK Advani
Mr Advani is a former party leader
India's main opposition BJP has announced that its leader LK Advani will be its prime ministerial candidate in the next general elections.

Though elections are scheduled for 2009, there has been speculation of snap polls due to differences in the ruling Congress party-led coalition.

The Karachi-born, 80-year-old Mr Advani is one of the senior most leaders of the Hindu nationalist party.

His critics see him as a symbol of aggressive Hindu nationalism.

They see Mr Advani as a man who led a divisive campaign for building a Hindu temple in the northern town of Ayodhya.

But in the eyes of his supporters he remains the "iron man" of Indian politics who brought Hindu nationalism to the centre stage of national polity which propelled his party to power in Delhi.

BJP chief Rajnath Singh announced Mr Advani's name as the prime ministerial candidate after a party meeting on Monday.

He said the decision had the "blessings" of the party's senior most leader and former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

The announcement came a day before crucial state elections in the western state of Gujarat where the BJP is contesting against the Congress party.

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