The BJP overrode LK Advani’s concerns in naming Narendra Modi its PM candidate, but efforts to get the patriarch on board continued well into the final hour before the party’s crucial parliamentary board meeting, it has been learnt.
A ‘determined’ party president Rajnath Singh went to meet Advani around 3.30pm on Friday in the hope of persuading him to attend the meet. One version is that, in response to Singh’s appeal, Advani was almost ready to get into the car to leave for the BJP’s headquarters.
But he changed his mind when he was informed by a BJP MP about a demonstration against him and in support of Modi by a group led by party supporter Suhail Hindustani.
Advani then shot off a letter to Singh in which he wrote: “This afternoon when you had come to my residence to inform me about the parliamentary board meeting, I had said something about my anguish as also my disappointment over your style of functioning.”
He added: “I had told you that I will think whether I should share my thoughts with other board members or not. Now, I have decided that it is better that I do not attend today’s meeting.”
When Singh had left Advani’s home, he had hoped the octogenarian would attend the meet. But the party chief realised he now had to perform the “unpleasant” task of conveying to Advani that, whether he agreed or not, the BJP had to go ahead with Modi’s declaration, which was cleared by the RSS and sought by a number of BJP leaders.
Despite hectic parleys, Advani refused to listen to several party leaders and support Modi. He stuck to his line that nobody should be projected at all — at least not until the November polls in five states — even though he had advocated projecting a name for the PM’s post until last December when Gujarat handed a handsome mandate to Modi for a third time.