"This hall reminds me of the BJP meet here in 2002," a top BJP leader told reporters with a grin outside the venue of the BJP conclave in Panaji on Saturday.
He was referring to a bid by Atal Bihari Vajpayee – backed by Shanta Kumar, Jaswant Singh and Arun Shourie – to oust Narendra Modi as Gujarat chief minister after the 2002 riots.
The majority in the party – including LK Advani – had opposed the proposal, and Modi stayed on to rise to become the party’s key leader. The leader said something similar was happening now, hinting that the party could back Modi’s elevation for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls despite Advani’s opposition.
Advani – once Modi’s mentor – is believed to be miffed at the Gujarat strongman being made the party’s face for 2014. The reason, many say, is that Advani hasn’t yet shed his prime ministerial ambitions.
This is the first time since the founding of the BJP that Advani has skipped a national executive meet, reporting sick. But Modi too is not known to brook opposition.