A day after he quit all key leadership posts and hit out at his colleagues, veteran LK Advani yesterday made peace with the party after the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) intervened to end the BJP’s worst ever crisis.
The announcement was made at Advani’s residence by BJP president Rajnath Singh and other party leaders but the former deputy prime minister did not meet the media.
The apparent climbdown by Advani reportedly came after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, persuaded him to reverse his decision to quit the national executive, the parliamentary board and the election committee.
“Today after noon, Mohan Bhagwat spoke to Advaniji and asked him to continue in the (party posts in) national interest,” Rajnath Singh said. “Advaniji has decided to accept Bhagwatji’s advise.”
Rajnath Singh’s statement was a tacit admission that the BJP, which Advani helped found in 1980 along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had failed to win him over after he resigned from the party posts for ignoring his concerns and naming Narendra Modi as the head of the election campaign committee.
The BJP decision, made on Sunday at a party conclave in Goa which Advani did not attend, would have made the Gujarat chief minister the BJP’s face in the Lok Sabha election due in 2014 -- a la Advani in 2009.
Immediately after Advani quit the party posts and accused most party leaders of pursuing “personal agendas”, the BJP brass trooped to his house in the heart of the capital but he refused to budge.
Rajnath Singh had declared on Monday that Advani’s resignation from party posts would not be accepted. The meetings between BJP leaders and Advani continued yesterday too, with some of them insisting that the crisis would soon blow over.
“On behalf of the party, I assured Advaniji that his concerns regarding the functioning of the party would be addressed and I will discuss the modalities of addressing these concerns with him,” said Rajnath Singh, one of the most vocal backers of Modi.
The BJP president was flanked by Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari and other senior leaders. More than the resignation, what hit the BJP badly was Advani’s stinging allegation in his resignation letter that the BJP was no more the “same idealistic party”.
He also said that he was finding it difficult to reconcile with the BJP’s present functioning or the direction it was taking. Earlier yesterday, BJP leaders went out of their way to deny that Advani was miffed because of the RSS backing to Modi, who Advani had once mentored. In the end, however, the RSS had to come to the BJP’s rescue.
Modi welcomes Advani’s decision
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi welcomed veteran Advani’s decision to stay on at his party posts. “I had said yesterday (Monday) that Advaniji will not disappoint lakhs of Karyakartas (party workers). Today, I whole heartedly welcome his decision,” Modi tweeted after party chief Rajnath Singh announced that Advani has decided to stay on in the party’s core bodies.