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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

LK Advani changes tune, says BJP chances bright

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 27, 2013
First Published: 18:37 IST(27/7/2013) | Last Updated: 02:59 IST(28/7/2013)

For the first time since Narendra Modi's projection as the BJP's campaign face, LK Advani has once again started seeing "bright" prospects for his party in the 2014 elections.

At a party event in the Capital on Saturday, he said, "I can see from all angles that BJP will give record-breaking results during the 2014 elections."

Following Modi's elevation as the party's campaign committee chief in June, Advani had quit all party posts before withdrawing his resignations. He had also held a bleak view of the BJP's prospects, saying it had not been able to rise to people's expectations though the Congress' popularity was waning.

Now, his change of heart comes in the wake of his wide-ranging discussions in Nagpur with top RSS leaders who indicated the Sangh would not stand in the way of his playing a key role in the new government if the election throws up an indecisive mandate - but he should first help the BJP win with Modi at the helm.

The issue of the BJP declaring Modi as its PM candidate still remains a ticklish issue, but party leaders are hoping to persuade Advani to make the announcement himself in the days to come.

On Saturday, he seemed to indicate that his optimism was based on recent opinion polls that pointed to the BJP's score of parliamentary seats going up from the 2009 tally and the Congress' figure coming down.

Two days ago, the CNN-IBN-CSDS-The Hindu Election Tracker survey had showed that the 2014 Lok Sabha election would throw up a fractured mandate, with neither the BJP nor the Congress coming anywhere close to the half-way mark of 272 in the 545-member Lok Sabha.

Urging his party workers to be ready and begin preparations for the polls, Advani said, "It is not necessary that the election result would be what the election tracker survey has been predicting. I am firm that the result will be much better than what has been predicted."

He also praised the RSS for working towards ending caste discrimination.


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