Advani cautions against repeat of 2004

Advani cautions against repeat of 2004

BJP patriarch L K Advani on Saturday cautioned the gung-ho party not to repeat the 2004 mistake of squaring the chance to come to power at the Centre by becoming overconfident ahead of the coming general elections.

He also complimented president Rajnath Singh on anointing well in advance Narendra Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate.

“I have not seen so much enthusiasm and self confidence. I congratulate party president Rajnath Singh and other colleagues who decided that we will make Narendra Modi the prime minister after we achieve the majority in these elections,” said Advani, eliciting cheers from the cadres and leaders at the party's national council meeting held at Ramlila Maidan.

Though Advani had given up his reservations on Modi’s projection last year as the party's prime ministerial candidate sometime ago, he has perhaps for the first time praised Singh for taking that decision and tasking the party with “Mission 272” that, he stated, would help it occupy South Block and North Block.

This marks Advani’s U-turn: The “anguished” former deputy prime minister had questioned in writing the BJP chief’s decision to declare Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate last September, besides not attending the Goa conclave protesting Singh’s move to make the Hindutva poster boy the party’s poll campaign head.

“We lost the 2004 elections because we had become overconfident. This Lok Sabha elections, we have to ensure that we do not become overconfident and fight the elections with only with confidence,” was the word of advice from the leader who has toiled to see the BJP grow since 1984, when it got merely three Lok Sabha seats.

In his concluding speech on the last day of BJP national council, Advani also praised Modi’s address to party leaders and workers, and wished that in June Modi would become prime minister.

Despite the fear among a section of the party that overexposure might lead to burnout of Modi’s clout among the people, Advani lauded the Gujarat chief minister's high-pitched poll campaign going on for the last five-six months for the polls. Advani, who has participated in all 15 Lok Sabha elections held since independence, commented that he has not come across any other politician addressing so many “massive rallies”.

Modi has attended 77 out of the 100 rallies planned in the run-up to the big electoral fight that will make or mar his career.

Modi’s track record in governing Gujarat and pulling crowds in rallies also came in for praise from Advani.

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