Walking into the Sunset
With no ‘Plan B’ in sight post Modi blitz, BJP patriarch goes back to his books
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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
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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.