BJP in shock as Advani revolts

Veteran leader resigns from all party posts, refuses to relent

BJP in shock as Advani revolts

A day after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was appointed the BJP’s election campaign committee head at the Goa conclave, sulking patriarch L K Advani shocked the party by resigning from three key posts.

In a bid to defuse the crisis, the BJP unanimously rejected Advani’s resignation. Top leaders visited the former deputy prime minister at his residence late in the evening to persuade him to withdraw the resignation. 

Advani, who had kept off the two-day Goa executive committee meeting that ended on Sunday, was visibly hurt over Rajnath Singh’s decision to make Modi the poll campaign mascot despite his reservations.

Protests by a group rooting for Modi outside Advani’s house on Saturday also angered him, given the fact that he was projected as a villain, said sources close to him.

“For some time I have been finding it difficult to reconcile either with the current functioning of the party, or the direction in which it is going. I no longer have the feeling that this is the same idealistic party created by Dr Mookerji, Deen Dayalji, Nanaji and Vajpayeeji whose sole concern was the country, and its people. Most leaders of ours are now concerned just with their personal agendas,” Advani stated in a letter to party president Rajnath Singh on Monday.

It was evident that the “party with a difference” has become a “party with differences” since the letter landed up with the media around the same time it was received by the party president.

“I have decided, therefore, to resign from the three main fora of the party, namely, the National Executive, the Parliamentary Board and the Election Committee. This may be regarded as my resignation letter,” the letter stated, indicating that Advani did not want to be associated with election work as it would have brought him under Modi.

As the news spread in the afternoon, stunned party leaders like Sushma Swaraj, M Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley met Advani and persuaded him to withdraw his decision.
But Advani remained firm. A series of meetings were held at Rajnath Singh’s house throughout the day, with Modi aide Amit Shah joining the confabulation.

Former party president Naidu played the emissary, passing information between Advani and Singh.

In the evening, six of the 12 BJP parliamentary board members met at Rajnath Singh’s house to put together a response to Advani’s letter. Rejecting Advani’s resignation, Rajnath Singh read out the board’s resolution.

“Since the beginning of the Jan Sangh and the BJP, Advani has been a leader and guide and that role belongs to him. We need his sane advise and guidance even more now,” Singh said, adding that under no circumstance would he accept the resignation. The resolution, however, did not spell out whether the party would offer a compromise formula.

“Had a detailed conversation with Advaniji on phone. Urged him to change his decision. I hope he will not disappoint lakhs of Karyakartas,” Modi tweeted.

Ironically, in a tweet after his coronation, Modi had said he had the blessing of Advani.
Advani has not resigned from the post of the NDA working president.

The NDA is a political alliance that Advani, along with former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and JD (U) leaders George Fernandes, Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav had created as a non-Congress political alternative.

A man credited with raising the BJP, Advani took the party that started out with two MPs in 1984 to power in 1998 by winning 182 parliamentary seats.

Sordid saga

-Advani says BJP is no longer the “same idealistic party” created by Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Deendayal Upadhyaya, Nanaji Deshmukh and Atal Behari Vajpayee

- Leaders rush to Advani's residence in a bid to pacify him but he showed no signs of relenting.

-Narendra Modi calls L K advani over phone, appeals to him to withdraw resignation

- The third time in eight years that Advani is resigning — once over row on Jinnah remarks

- Advani's resignation is an internal matter of the BJP, says the SAD

-One cannot think of the NDA without Advani, says Shiv Sena

- Modi's elevation beginning of BJP's degeneration: Cong

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