On the occasion of his 85th birthday, BJP veteran LK Advani plans to take a break from his Jan Chetna Yatra on Tuesday. The yatra is to enter the last leg of its nationwide campaign against corruption.
But the yatra, which began on a stormy note, has managed to change the party's inner dynamics, calming down some divisions that were coming to the fore. A reluctant BJP was not enthused by Advani's unilateral announcement of the yatra. It was seen as reviving the issue of the party's prime ministerial candidate.
Even before Advani set out, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi threw his hat into the prime ministerial ring, going on a much-hyped fast after a Supreme Court order sending a 2002 riot case back to the trial court.
Not to be left behind, party chief Nitin Gadkari announced his plan to contest the next Lok Sabha polls.
Party insiders maintained that the relations between Advani and Modi and Modi and Gadkari were going downhill.
But as the yatra rolled on, behind-the-scene parleys meant to break the ice began.
Advani sought to smooth the ruffled feathers on the leadership issue, writing in his blog, "this yatra has nothing to do with LK Advani nor even with the BJP or the next elections."
Modi turned up for the yatra as Advani entered Gujarat. Gadkari and Modi, too, are said to have buried their "differences". Some BJP managers credit the response to the current public mood and the "intelligent planning" that went into the yatra's route. "It may be some time before we can show that the people are with us, but it is clear they are not with the Congress," said a BJP leader.