Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani, who was perceived to be projecting himself as a prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 elections, has said he is "happy" remaining in the party.
"From the RSS, to the Jan Sangh and to the BJP, I am happier to be a part of the party," Advani said in Nagpur on Wednesday when he was asked if he expects to be his party's prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. His statement is being perceived as a clarification what message he wanted to convey after announcing a nationwide tour against corruption.
Advani's plan to go on a rath yatra has not gone down with well with his party, its ally Janata Dal United (JD-U) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The BJP was caught off guard when Advani announced his plan. Narendra Modi, a senior BJP leader, did not clearly express his support to Advani when they met during the Gujarat chief minister's three-day fast in Ahmedabad.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, a senior JD-U leader, is himself starting a "seva yatra" in his state and has not publicly committed support for Advani's yatra.
Advani was the BJP's prime ministerial candidate in the 2009 elections and the party lost. He quit as leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha after the elections and made way for younger party leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. However, his announcement that he will go on a yatra was interpreted by many that he again trying to project himself as a prime ministerial candidate.
Advani met with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur on Wednesday after reports that the organisation wanted clarification on prime ministerial ambitions.
Advani denied any differences with the RSS.