A day after the BJP officially entered the Modi era, snubbed patriarch LK Advani was reportedly still on the boil, planning to drop another letter bomb or write an adverse blog post, as his party colleagues dropped by one after another at his residence to calm him down.
File photo: Senior BJP leader LK Advani during the last public meeting of his Jan Chetna Yatra at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. (Sanjeev Verma/HT)
Party president Rajnath Singh, however, said newly-anointed prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Advani would share the dais at a Bhopal rally on September 25.
Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar and Balbir Punj visited Advani on Saturday while Nitin Gadkari reportedly spoke to him. In fact, efforts to pacify the 85-year-old started right after Friday’s parliamentary board meet where Modi was anointed.
The Gujarat CM drove to his former mentor’s house to seek his blessings and RSS leader Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi is also believed to have spoken to Advani later that night.
“Nobody is upset,” Swaraj said. Rajnath — ticked off by Advani on his style of functioning in an angry letter Friday — said, “If a guardian scolds somebody in the family, it doesn’t mean there are differences. Advaniji has never told me Modi shouldn’t be PM candidate.” He added: “He has every right to be angry. I will try to address it. Where is the question of his isolation?”
But the turn of events has led to changed internal dynamics in the saffron party. While Advani has been eclipsed, Swaraj — who had reservations over Modi — has been forced to come around. She attended Friday’s meet, ensuring she wasn’t seen as a dissident. So did Murli Manohar Joshi, another Modi-sceptic.
The real gainers, apart from Modi, are Rajnath and, to an extent, Arun Jaitley. “Rajnath has shown he can take tough decisions, if needed, in the interest of the party and in implementing the RSS’ decisions,” a BJP leader said.
Gadkari, seemingly cornered by charges of business irregularities a few months ago, is back. He is close to the RSS but still has a working relationship with Advani.
The RSS, once again, has shown it calls the shots in the party.
However, if Modi fails, Advani and Swaraj could get a second wind. And if he succeeds only partially, he may have to make way for another candidate to help cobble up a larger NDA. Rajnath seems to have a bright chance in this scenario.
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