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Advani's latest stunt draws flak

india Updated: Dec 12, 2006 03:12 IST

Leader of Opposition LK Advani's remark positioning himself as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate appears to be a desperate attempt to get to the premier office.

His standing in the Sangh Parivar is not what it used to be but it is Advani’s way of sending a signal to the party cadres that he is still retains his clout in the party despite Rajnath Singh getting elected for a three-year term.

The complete text of the television interview is not available as yet.

Advani's fortunes have been on the decline ever since his controversial remarks on Mohammad Ali Jinnah during his Pakistan visit last year. He had to give up the BJP presidentship and also earned the wrath of the RSS. His critics had last year pointed out that the Jinnah remarks were aimed at erasing the perception that the BJP is anti-Islam and Advani its hardline face — which Advani apparently confirmed in the yet to be telecast interview.

In hindsight, the remarks seem a well thought out strategy so that he could emerge as the leader of the NDA in place of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Advani's observation that Vajpayee may not endorse his candidacy to reciprocate a similar gesture on his part is also being interpreted as both an attempt to make the former prime minister commit himself on the subject now or to tell him that even if does not come on board on this issue, Advani would go ahead with his plans.

The BJP leader's unhappiness over the manner in which the party is being run is also evident from some of his remarks and the interview confirms that Advani is not very comfortable with Rajnath as president.

However, Advani's logic that in the United Kingdom, the leader of the opposition is construed to be the shadow prime minister perhaps does not necessarily hold good in the Indian context. Barring Vajpayee, no leader of opposition in India has become the prime minister after holding that post in the Lok Sabha.

Within the Sangh Parivar, Advani's remarks have evoked a mixed reaction. BJP spokesman Prakash Javedkar said it was premature to say anything on the subject till the interview was telecast.

RSS spokesman and senior functionary Ram Madhav said that he was not aware if any decision to project Advani for the prime minister’s post had been taken by the Sangh.

One time BJP ideologue Govindacharya said that the remarks reflected the ambitions of the BJP leader and also indicated "ego conflict, self assertion and positioning by him".

Email Pankaj Vohra: pvohra @hindustantimes.com

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