Advani-Modi tug of war within the BJP has raised some questions about chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Jan Ashirvad Yatra to be taken out from Mahakal temple in Ujjain on July 22.
In the backdrop of the tussle, the BJP leaders are curious to know if senior BJP leader LK Advani would attend the yatra on the day. The question stems from the fact that Advani had blessed Chouhan’s Jan Ashirvad Yatra from Ujjain in August, 2008.
The yatra had started from Mahakal temple on August 28 to cover about 115 assembly constituencies in 36 districts.
As the state BJP election campaign committee has chalked out the programme of Chouhan’s yatra, it’s understood that the BJP national campaign committee head Narendra Modi would be invited to bless the yatra with his presence.
The party cannot ignore Advani too as far as the invite is concerned.
In this situation, it would be interesting to see if Advani and Modi would be willing to share a common platform in Ujjain in July this year.
The party leaders are tightlipped.
There was no word from the leaders on Tuesday when the yatra programme was made public as to which national leaders would attend the yatra at least to flag it off in Ujjain.
Needless to mention, Chouhan is considered much close to Advani and the latter hardly misses any opportunity to praise Chouhan for his good governance and humility.
During the state BJP executive meeting in Gwalior recently, Advani’s words of praise for Chouhan and his attempt to project Chouhan as a better chief minister than Modi caused much heartburn in Modi camp.
Advani not only showered praises on Chouhan, he went to the extent of equating him with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in terms of their humility.
Result: None else than the party national president Rajnath Singh had to issue clarification before the media that Advani’s statement had been misinterpreted and “there cannot be two opinions that Narendra Modi is the most popular leader in the country.”
Sensing the prevailing mood in the party, Chouhan immediately withdrew himself from the race of comparison. While retracting, Chouhan put himself on number 3 position in seniority among the chief ministers from the BJP after Modi and Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh.
Chouhan said to the media, “Narendra Modi is my senior, my elder brother. Raman Singh is also senior to me. Leave alone being number one, or number two, I am not even at number three.” Chouhan immediately added, “I am at number three.”
As if this was not enough, Chouhan hugged Modi during the BJP’s national executive meet held in Goa to greet him on his (Modi’s) nomination as the BJP election campaign committee chief. He also showered praises on Modi in his Tweet on Twitter.
“May be it’s a compulsion on Chouhan’s part but the fact is he knows well he cannot afford annoying Modi in the present circumstances, particularly when Modi is enjoying RSS backing. Hence, he would prefer to see Modi’s presence at the launch of the yatra in Ujjain on July 22.
Advani would certainly be invited but not with as much warmth as was shown earlier,” said a senior BJP leader.
State BJP spokesperson Vishwas Sarang said the party had just chalked out the yatra plan, hence it’s too early to say who would come and who would not. The presence of the national leaders would depend on their schedules.