Advani, once Modi's saviour, now adversary

Advani, once Modi's saviour, now adversary

How fortune changes! Eleven years ago, Narendra Modi, at the BJP national executive in this city, had to nearly squander his chief minister’s post but he was rescued by his then mentor L K Advani. As the party conclave starts Saturday, Advani is seemingly using all his force to stop Modi from assuming leadership role ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

In April, 2002, then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee had prepared the ground at the executive for removal of Modi, seen as presiding over the worst communal riots the country has witnessed. Modi was barely six months old as chief minister then. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, then a powerful figure in the National Democratic Alliance, called for Modi’s removal hours before the conclave was to start, mounting pressure for the Gujarat chief minister’s removal.

 It was Advani who saved the day for Modi. He strongly pleaded for the continuation of the Hindutva poster boy and succeeded in his mission. Vajpayee, who had asserted that Modi should adhere to “ raj dharma”, bowed to pressure.

 Circa 2013. As political fortunes have taken several twists and turns, it is Advani who is at the receiving end. The 85-year old, himself speculated to be keen to become BJP’s prime ministerial candidate again, is opposed to Modi, who is turning out to be the most popular BJP leader riding on the crest of several electoral victories. It is quite possible that by

Sunday, Modi would be anointed BJP’s Lok Sabha election committee chief by popular choice.
That would clearly be a setback for Advani. Modi on Friday arrived here amidst heavy fanfare. He was given a rousing welcome at the airport by BJP leaders led by the host and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who made no bones of his support for Modi. Arriving to loud cheers of BJP supporters, Modi flashed the victory sign.

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