Yatra is a bad idea: Vajpayee
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Yatra is a bad idea: Vajpayee

BJP patriarch tried to dissuade Advani from embarking on the Yatra, reports R Saksena. Been there, seen it all, says Advani

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 01:38 IST

When LK Advani rolls out the bulletproof rath for his "Bharat Suraksha Yatra" from Rajkot on April 6, he will be doing so against the advice of BJP patriarch AB Vajpayee.

A couple of days ago, Vajpayee is learnt to have called up Advani to dissuade him from embarking on the yatra (to protest against the "minority appeasement policies" of the UPA). Far from paying heed and cancelling the 5,000-km road show, Advani invited Vajpayee to join him at Lucknow when the caravan reaches there from Rajkot. He is said to have made a fervent pitch to enlist Vajpayee's participation in the yatra.

Veteran Vajpayee is understood to have used genteel persuasion with Advani, suggesting that he "postpone" the yatra for a more appropriate time. Striking a personal note, he is said to have drawn the 78-year-old Advani's attention to the travails of travel (albeit in air-conditioned comfort) during the summer and the toll the heat can take.

At a political level, Vajpayee in his conversation questioned the mileage the party would derive from Advani's yatra at a time when general elections were still some time away. Rather, Vajpayee felt the yatra would distract the cadres from work required for the assembly polls in the five states.

Vajpayee is not alone in questioning the efficacy of Advani's strategy to set off on a yatra just when BJP chief Rajnath is also taking to the road from another point in the country. The VHP and the RSS are understood to be not too enthusiastic about Advani's travel plans.

Sources say Vajpayee, in his telephone chat with Advani, also echoed the sentiments of the younger generation of BJP leaders. They too are not in favour of Advani setting off on a rath yatra. But keeping in mind his seniority in the party and status as Leader of the Opposition, they have little choice but to extend "official" support.

It is felt that Advani's yatra coming at the same time as Rajnath's will only dilute public attention which rightfully should focus on the BJP chief's road show.

First Published: Apr 04, 2006 01:38 IST