Advani gives in to Sangh bait, patches up with BJP

Party not to push Modi's projection as PM nominee

Advani gives in to Sangh bait, patches up with BJP

A sulking and isolated L K Advani patched up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) within 36 hours of quitting three posts on a mere assurance that “concerns about the functioning of the party would be properly addressed.”

While Advani, 85, accepted the bait offered to him as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat brokered the truce making it perhaps the most honourable exit he could have got, the BJP continues to hold on to its decision of appointing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi election campaign committee head.

The high-decibel drama continued on Tuesday with top leaders, including Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Jaswant Singh and Uma Bharti, queuing up at Advani’s house to persuade him to take back his resignation from the national executive, parliamentary board and the election committee.

“On Tuesday afternoon, RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat spoke to Advani and asked him to respect the BJP parliamentary board decision and continue to guide the party in national interest. Advani has decided to accept Shri Bhagwat’s advice,” BJP president Rajnath Singh announced on Tuesday evening at the former deputy prime minister’s residence.

“The party president will discuss the modalities of addressing these concerns with Advani,” Singh said without giving details. The parliamentary board on Monday decided not to accept his resignation and persuade him to take it back.

Interestingly, Advani chose not to be present at the hurriedly convened press conference addressed by other senior leaders, including Sushma and Gadkari.

But Singh downplayed it,  saying that Advani was advised not to  attend it as it would not have looked decent to hold a press meet where he would be seated next to them.

Sources said there had been a behind-the-scene understanding that the party would not rush through to anoint Modi as prime ministerial candidate of the party ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Party leaders close to Advani were of the view that the tallest leader could not be seen as a cheerleader to his one-time protégé Modi. Due to that he registered his protest by choosing a time that suited him most to resign only from those posts that were connected to party’s poll matters. He had retained the post of National Democratic Alliance working president.

A senior leader, however, said Advani’s open defiance had not gone down well with cadre and they had been calling party headquarters denouncing the action.

In his resignation letter to Rajnath Singh, Advani had said that he was “finding it difficult to reconcile either with the current functioning of the party, or the direction in which it is going”, apart from questioning what he felt that most of the leaders are just pursuing their personal agendas”.Singh, however, stood by the party’s stand of not budging on Modi issue.

“Who is talking about changing the decision? Where am I changing my decision,” he said in Banswada in Rajasthan on Tuesday when asked whether he would remain “firm” on his decision. Modi, whose elevation precipitated the crisis in the party, tweeted immediately after the truce was announced: “I said on Monday that Advaniji will not disappoint lakhs of karyakartas .  I whole heartedly welcome his decision.”

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