Last bow for Advani, Karat?

Last bow for Advani, Karat?

 And there are no prizes for guessing what might become of them in the days to come.

The question doing the rounds in the capital’s political circles about the fates of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L K Advani, touted as the country’s ‘Iron Man’, and the CPM’s suave general secretary Prakash Karat is: Will it be their last bow? Knocked out of reckoning at the hustings and left high-and-dry from assuming the mantle of power at the Centre, Advani’s apsirations of becoming prime minister are well nigh over. 

It may just be curtains for the Vajpayee-Advani era.

The CPM’s drubbing and the humiliation it may have to endure for its defeat to the Trinamool Congress in Bengal and in Kerala will embolden the party apparatchiks to sharpen their knives against Karat.

Baying for Karat blood

Former senior Communist Party (Marxist) leader Somnath Chatterjee, who had to suffer the ignominy of expulsion from the party, said Karat should own responsibility and resign. CPM leaders are not yet out in the open baying for Karat’s blood.

But the demand for his resignation will likely grow shriller in the days to come.
As for the BJP, with the ailing helmsman, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, already having taken '”political sanyas”, Advani, at 81, may be forced to do just that sooner and later with the second rung leadership in the party turning restless and charging ahead to take control of the party.

In the Parliamentary Board meeting on Saturday, Advani offered to quit as the leader of Opposition which, as a matter of courtesy, was not immediately accepted by the party.
Within hours of the poll results, rumblings in BJP's rank-and-file about Vajpayee's absence have indirectly sought to point  to ''the ineffectual leadership'' of  ''the iron man''. Senior leaders Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Murlimanohar Joshi and Jaswant Singh are fresh claimants for the post of leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. 

Advani, who resigned as party president in 2005 following RSS protests on his Jinnah comments, later made a resounding come back and was accepted as prime ministerial candidate by the NDA in general and the party in particular. His candidature for prime ministership was also endorsed by the RSS.

Though Advani worked hand-in-hand with Vajpayee and  grew taller in stature soon after his Ramjanambhumi Rath Yatra to Ayodhya and the tumultuous days which followed it through the early nineties, he was never projected for the top post. As long as Vajpayee remained active, Advani was forced to play second fiddle.

It was only after Vajpayee was handicapped by physical ailment that the roads were cleared for Advani to aspire for the highest executive post. But the shock of Verdict 2009 may leave him with an 11-year-old title -- former deputy Prime Minister.