Walk­ing into the Sun­set

With no ‘Plan B’ in sight post Modi blitz, BJP pa­tri­arch goes back to his books

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

OUR PO­LIT­I­CAL BUREAU

BJP pa­tri­arch LK Ad­vani’s voice choked with emo­tion as he talked about his party’s un­prece­dented per­for­mance in the Lok Sabha elec­tions. For him, the BJP’s vic­tory was mainly a re­sult of “people’s anger against cor­rup­tion, mis­gov­er­nance and dy­nas­tic rule”. Ad­vani could not bring him­self to lay down all credit at Naren­dra Modi’s doorstep even af­ter he had called him to con­grat­u­late him for leading the party to vic­tory. Even as the BJP sur­passed all ex­pec­ta­tions driven by Modi blitzkrieg, Ad­vani said his con­tri­bu­tion to party’s vic­tory needed to be as­sessed. “I think there should be a de­tailed anal­y­sis on this. It needs to be as­sessed as to how much

con­tri­bu­tion has been made

NEXT STOP, RAISINA HILL?

by Naren­dra Modi’s lead­er­ship, RSS and the BJP to­wards the party’s vic­tory,” he said, as he stepped out of his house at 30 Prithvi­raj Road to give his pithy re­ac­tion to wait­ing jour­nal­ists. Ad­vani had stayed cooped up in­side his house the whole day, pre­fer­ring to watch the ac­tion on tele­vi­sion. Af­ter BJP es­tab­lished a clear lead in over 220 con­stituen­cies and go­ing by the trends, he per­haps knew that there could be no ‘Plan B’ for the party, and there was no stop­ping Modi from be­com­ing the prime min­is­ter. He went back to read­ing the book that he was read­ing—Will Du­rant’s ‘The Case for In­dia’. Sev­eral se­nior lead­ers in­clud­ing party pres­i­dent Ra­j­nath Singh and Nitin Gad­kari had met Ad­vani in the past few days, try­ing to gauge his mind. Though Ad­vani did not spell out any­thing clearly, he in­di­cated that he was not in­ter­ested in a min­is­te­rial berth in the Modi Cab­i­net. The party lead­ers had also sug­gested a men­tor’s role for him to hone the skills of young lead­ers but Ad­vani was not keen on that too. A close aide said men­tor­ship was too vague. “If it means pro­mot­ing young lead­er­ship, isn’t this what Ad­vaniji has done all his life? From Arun Jait­ley, Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Ku­mar, to Sm­riti Irani and even Modi him­self, they are all his pro­tégées,” he added.

People close to Ad­vani said he had been of­fered the post of Lok Sabha speaker but the 86-year-old leader had been more in­ter­ested in a po­lit­i­cal role—per­haps that of the NDA chair­man. How­ever, with the BJP get­ting a ma­jor­ity on its own, even the role of NDA chair­man seemed more of a cer­e­mo­nial po­si­tion.

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