'Advani wanted to be PM for at least six months'

It is said that senior BJP leader LK Advani had drafted his resignation letter on Sunday itself, a day before he communicated his decision to the party and his supporters. Before the high-profile drama that unfolded yesterday, sources say that Advani had forward three conditions before the party one of them was that he be announced as the prime ministerial candidate of the party, and be allowed to hold the position for at least six months if the BJP-led NDA comes back to power.

The BJP leaders could not render a positive reply to LK Advani as there was mounting pressure from the RSS. File pic

Sources say that Advani believes that he is the prime contender for the top job owing to his contribution to the party for several decades. Advani was even ready to quit the post after six months if any other leader wished to come forward, sources said. Advani’s second condition was that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi should be made the convener and not the election chief’s role in the party.

While the third condition that he laid before the party was that even if Modi is made the chief of election committee, he should report to him, and that it will be he who’d call the shots. Sources said that Advani wanted to strategise the poll campaign and wanted to be the party’s key decision maker. However, the RSS wanted the party to announce Modi’s appointment as the campaign committee chief, which resulted in a difference of opinion between the two groups following which Advani resigned yesterday.

Go Goa Gone
Sensing the mood of the octogenarian leader, BJP president Rajnath Singh had asked his son Pankaj, general secretary of the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit, to stay back in Delhi. Pankaj was constantly in touch with Advani and had even kept a chartered plane ready to take him to Goa if he changed his mind. However, the leader did not budge and stayed away from the highly publicised party meet in Goa, sources said.

Soon, the internal developments in the party reached its peak on Sunday, a control room, which was specially set up at the venue in Goa, witnessed heated discussions to persuade Advani against taking the drastic step. Senior leaders, including Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu, Anantakumar and Smriti Irani were involved in negotiations. The control room soon turned into a war zone, party sources said.

Despite making a strong pitch, BJP leaders could not render a positive response to the senior leader as there was mounting pressure from the RSS, who wanted Modi as the chief of the campaign committee and the party top brass was left with no option but to give in to RSS’ demands, it was learnt. Despite knowing the fact that a visibly upset Advani might end up taking a drastic step sooner or later, the BJP could not save the situation due to the cold shoulder given by the RSS, sources said. 

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