Now, Advani praises Modi

Last Updated 16 September 2013, 20:35 IST

Three days after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was elevated as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, veteran leader L K Advani appears to have come to terms with the party’s decision.

On Monday, Advani showered praise on the Gujarat chief minister while speaking at a public function in Chhattisgarh. He endorsed Modi’s candidature for the top post, saying if elected, he would carry out the good work he was doing in Gujarat.

“Today, if he (Modi) has been entrusted with the responsibility of the country by my party, then all the good tasks undertaken by our governments in various states would be carried out all over the country,” said Advani in Korba town.

Advani, who was strongly opposed to projection of Modi as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, also described the Gujarat chief minister as a “friend and colleague”.

“My colleague Narendra Modi, who has been declared prime ministerial candidate of the party, was the first leader who had taken developmental projects to rural areas of Gujarat. He ensured 24-hour power supply in each and every village in Gujarat from where I too belong as a member of Parliament,” Advani said amid applause in Korba, where he dedicated a 500-MW Hasdeo Thermal Power Project.

Advani was also quick to praise on Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and said he was also doing the same job in Chhattisgarh that Modi had done for infrastructure and power in Gujarat.

The veteran leader’s remarks came as relief for the party as he had skipped the crucial BJP meeting which approved Modi as prime ministerial candidate on Friday. “He has been an admirer (of Modi),” BJP chief Rajnath Singh said when asked to comment on Advani’s praise.

A section in the BJP also feels that Advani does not want to wash the party’s dirty linen in public and would wait till the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections to try and edge out Modi from the prime ministerial race.

 They feel that Advani may have softened his stand but maintained that it is too early to predict the senior leader’s moves.

Besides Advani, senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi were also learnt to have been opposed to Modi's elevation ahead of assembly elections to five states.  However, Swaraj and Joshi were won over by Rajnath Singh’s persistent efforts ahead of Friday’s meeting.

Advani had shot off an angry letter to Rajnath Singh immediately after Modi’s elevation expressing anguish over developments in the BJP and disappointment over the way Singh functioned.

Modi and Advani had come face-to-face on Sunday evening at the residence during the birthday celebrations of Rajya Sabha member and veteran lawyer Ram Jethmalani.

Rajnath Singh and Swaraj had insisted that Advani was never unhappy over Modi’s elevation.

Besides Swaraj, BJP leaders Arun Jaitley, Jaswant Singh, Ananth Kumar, Balbir Punj had met Advani to urge him to give up his opposition to Modi.

(Published 16 September 2013, 20:33 IST)

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