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UPA crumbling, Advani tells BJP

delhi Updated: Oct 02, 2011 01:10 IST
Vikas Pathak
Vikas Pathak
Hindustan Times
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BJP-Leader-LK-Advani-addresses-party-s-National-Executive-Meeting-in-New-Delhi

On the last day of the BJP's two-day national executive, party patriarch LK Advani said the government was crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions.

He said people were estimating the life of the United Progressive Alliance's second tenure at another six to eight months.

"One can't confidently say the government will last till 2014," leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley told reporters, hinting at mid-term polls.

Clearly, the BJP is seeking to convince its leaders that since the government is on the verge of a collapse, the party should not lose the opportunity to step in as a national alternative.

But Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, cautioned that the BJP had to remain united to rise to the occasion. The message was more internal than external.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi skipped the party jamboree at a time when Advani and Modi are perceived as competing for the top government job in 2014.

The controversy engulfed the entire national executive and toned down its attack on the UPA's "corruption" and "internal contradictions".

Swaraj also underlined the need to hold on to the allies and make new friends.

The perceived reason: A BJP led by Modi might not be able to hold on to its allies. The JD (U) has already made its stand clear on this issue.

Significantly, Advani made an oblique reference to his "age". He said as a senior citizen, he could not recall any government in as much trouble as the present one.

Many members saw by mentioning his age, Advani was responding to the criticism that he was going on a Rath Yatra at 83 with an eye on the next polls.

Party president Nitin Gadkari raised another concern.

While the UPA was facing criticism, civil society groups rather than the principal opposition party were taking advantage of the situation.

Sources said he pointed out that some anti-political groups were converting the anti-government wave into an anti-political class mood.