The BJP’s drubbing in the recent Lok Sabha polls has not dented the spirit of its veteran leader L K Advani as he plans to embark on another ‘yatra´ across the country with an aim of rejuvenating the party cadre for future battles.
“I will not hold public meetings like I did during my rath yatras in the past. I plan to tour the country to meet my party worker at the local level and convince him that there is nothing unusual about an election defeat,” Advani told PTI.
During the tour, the senior leader will hold meetings with the party cadre and discuss their grievances and the reasons that led to the BJP’s dismal performance. He will also give pep talk to the cadre to lift their sagging morale.
81-year-old Advani, who reluctantly agreed to become Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha when the party’s central leadership pleaded with him after failing to arrive at a consensus on any other candidate, seems to have sprung back to his earlier energetic self.
He has been following a busy schedule since the Lok Sabha poll campaigns.
Advani, who will soon come out with Marathi and Urdu versions of his autobiography ‘My Country My Life´, is likely to take up the yatra in September after the three-day ‘Chintan Baithak´ (brainstorming session) of the party gets over on August 21. Advani's rath yatras have changed the fortunes of the BJP in the past.
His Somnath to Ayodhya Ram Rath Yatra in 1990 built a movement in the country on the Ram temple issue. It also apparently changed the political fortunes of BJP which formed a 13-day government in 1996. It had only two MPs in 1984.
Advani also undertook the Janadesh Yatra in 1993. In 2006, he embarked on the Bharat Suraksha Yatra to convince the masses that UPA government was not serious about tackling terrorism due to its policy of minority appeasement.
However, this time there would be no rabble-rousing of the man on the street. The target would be the BJP party worker, who appears to be jaded after two consecutive Lok Sabha defeats.
"I want to meet the BJP leaders from all wings of the party -- the students, the youth and the party cadre. They should realise that the single biggest achievement of the BJP has been ending the hegemony of the Congress and making India a bi-polar polity," Advani said.
BJP top brass has made all efforts to convince the party cadre that the Lok Sabha results, in which BJP was reduced from 2004 tally of 138 to 116, was not a rout. "This is not a complete loss for the party. The results did not come up to our expectations," said a party MP.