Narendra Modi edges out LK Advani
New Delhi: With the anointment of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, saffron corridors are agog with speculation over the fate of BJP patriarch L.K. Advani — the man who fought till the last to prevent the inevitable.
Advani, once the mentor of Modi, has not only been marginalised by his former “disciple”, but found himself isolated, as the next generation, with the backing of the RSS, took over the party.
Questions are now being raised whether this could be the beginning of the end of Advani’s long political career. Or will he live to fight another day? For the moment, it's curtains down for Advani's “burning ambition” to don the mantle of PM candidate or “promote his aides”.
At the sunset of his political career, Advani tried to take on the RSS yet again. His first attempt to free the party from the RSS’ shackles after the Jinnah controversy had failed miserably. This time, too, he seemed to have lost the first round. Advani is also the NDA convenor, but after the exit of the JD (U), Advani lost his main support base in the alliance as both the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal did not lose much time to latch on to the Modi bandwagon.
BJP nominates Narendra Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate for 2014 polls
A senior party functionary pointed out: “Advaniji is the NDA convenor and he hoped to draw support from the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal against Modi. He could not succeed in his attempts.” He claimed, “Advani could have risen in stature only if he paid heed to the call of the cadre. He simply made it a prestige issue. At this juncture, his position and stature have take a major hit.” With Modi at the helm of affairs and his reported “autocratic” style, Advani “might not be left with any room to manoeuvre”. His support in the party has been dwindling and he stood alone as his protégé Sushma Swaraj cancelled her Ambala visit and shared the dais with Modi as the party welcomed his elevation.
However, ahead of the choice of Modi as BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Advani had made known his “anguish” apparently over the way things are happening in the party. “This afternoon when you had come to my residence to inform me about the Parliamentary Board meeting, I had said something about my anguish as also my disappointment over your style of functioning,” the BJP veteran said in a letter to party chief Rajnath Singh.
Advani, who stayed away from the Parliamentary Board meeting, told the BJP chief that he decided not to attend the meeting as he thought it was “better”.
In an effort to bridge the divide, Modi’s first stop after being declared the candidate for PM was the residence of Advani.
Whether Advani will silently suffer the humiliation or quit the party and politics or wait for his time yet again remains to be seen.
Next: Modi vows ‘nayi soch, nayi ummeed’
Modi vows ‘nayi soch, nayi ummeed’New Delhi: Accepting the BJP’s decision with “humility”, Narendra Modi, the new NDA face for the 2014 general elections, came out with a slogan, “Nayi soch, nayi ummeed (New thinking, new hope).” The self-avowed Hindu nationalist will go to the polls on the plank of good governance and development while fighting against graft and price rise. Thanking party leaders and NDA allies for their support, Modi said he would “work tirelessly to ensure that the BJP wins the 2014 polls”.
The two NDA allies Akali Dal and Shiv Sena latched on to the Modi bandwagon and “welcomed” the decision. The BJP chief claimed that the decision was taken keeping in view the mood and aspirations of the people. He said the decision was taken “unanimously”. On L.K. Advani’s protest, BJP chief Rajnath Singh said that “Advaniji is a respected leader and will continue to be respected.”
He needs to find allies to realise dreamThe road ahead for BJP PM nominee Narendra Modi will not be easy as he has to battle the ghosts of the 2002 post-Godhra riots, portray himself as a liberal leader and find BJP new allies.If several opinion polls are to be believed, despite a better show, the NDA is unlikely to form government on its own and it will need support from other parties, but its options are limited.
Parties such as Trinamul, BJD and TD are likely to stay away from the BJP due to Modi's “questionable“ secular credentials.
Modi is seen as a polarising force and is expected to earn more Hindu votes, but it may not be enough and the current scenario is much different than that of 1996 and even then, the saffron outfit was not able to form a government at the Centre on its own.
It can be mentioned that the BJP was able to have more allies due to the liberal face of Atal Behari Vajpayee, which Modi lacks. The recent rise in communal tension in India, particularly in Bihar, UP and Jammu and Kashmir, and a BJP link to every incident, might work in the favour of the party in some areas, but it might backfire also as the minority votes may benefit the Congress in the 2014 polls.
Modi has not done a lot to fit himself in the boot of Vajpayee and is yet to claim responsibility for the 2002 riots. He made matters worse after his infamous “puppy“ remark over the death of minorities during the Gujarat violence.
The recent riots in Muzaffarnagar again raised eyebrows, with several parties alleging a BJP hand in the violence.