Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi (R) with Rajasthan opposition leader Vasundhara Raje during the BJP national executive meeting in Mumbai. PTI photo
BJP leader Rajnath Singh during the party's national executive meeting in Mumbai. HT/Kunal Patil
BJP leader and actor Kirron Kher during the party's national executive meeting in Mumbai. HT/Kunal Patil
BJP senior leader and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi (C) greets supporters on his arrival at the party's national executive meeting in Mumbai. AFP/Punit Paranjpe
BJP president Nitin Gadkari being welcomed on his arrival at the party's national executive meeting in Mumbai. PTI photo
Bharatiya Janata Party senior leader LK Advani, left and party chief Nitin Gadkari greet the audience during their national executive meeting in Mumbai. AP/Rajanish Kakade
BJP leaders Uma Bharti and Vinod Khanna during the party's national executive meeting in Mumbai. PTI photo
Lal Krishna Advani attends the party's national executive meeting in Mumbai. AP/Rajanish Kakade
BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Hema Malini during the party's national executive meeting in Mumbai. PTI/Mitesh Bhuvad
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leaders Lal Krishna Advani (R) and Sushma Swaraj attend the inauguration session of the party's national executive meeting in Mumbai. ...
BJP patriarch LK Advani on Friday raised doubts over his party’s readiness to take over power even though “the nation is finding the UPA government unbearable and looking towards the BJP”.
Advani told the BJP national executive on the last day of the two-day conclave: “The party should be cautious when people ask whether it is ready to take over”.
Observers say Advani’s reference was to the bitter infighting over Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's growing clout and former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa’s pitch for making Modi the party’s prime ministerial candidate.
The party hastened to explain — especially after Yeddyurappa’s move — that while Modi was an efficient CM and a tall leader, the decision on his candidature would be taken later.
During the conclave, the BJP strove to present a picture of “unity” and showcased the attendance of Modi, Yeddyurappa and former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje as the meet’s high points.
But Advani and opposition leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj’s decision to stay away from Friday’s rally led to feverish speculation that all was not well. On Advani’s absence, chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was announced two days ago that he would not be able to address the rally.
The list of speakers and posters did not feature Advani, Prasad said.
He said Swaraj — who had been billed as a speaker in the rally — informed a day ago that she would not address the rally, since she had to attend an event in Ghaziabad on Saturday morning.
Earlier, Advani called the UPA the most “inefficient, ineffective, corrupt and insensitive” government since independence and said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was totally helpless.