Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
New Delhi: With the BJP central leadership preparing to give a final shape to the Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet, reports on Wednesday indicated that party veteran LK Advani is not too keen on joining the NDA government and senior leader Sushma Swaraj is seeking a respectable role in the new government.
The sources close to the party claim that the BJP patriarch wants to remain outside the government led by his `junior` Narendra Modi. Meanwhile, Swaraj, who was the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and considered close to Advani, has requested the party to give a respectable role to her in the Modi government. Though the two have not made any specific demand, the party leadership is believed to have asked Swaraj to chose from the HRD, Foreign Ministry and Defence Ministry, considering her stature in the party.
Advani instead prefers a mentor`s role and wants to continue as the NDA chairman, sources further claim.
BJP chief Rajnath Singh and his predecessor Nitin Gadkari today met Swaraj at her residence and assured her that a suitable portfolio matching her vast experience and stature will be given to her in the Modi-led Cabinet.
After meeting Swaraj, both Singh and Gadkari have now left for Gandhinagar where they will meet Narendra modi and discuss the likely situation after the counting of votes on May 16.
The development comes on a day when top BJP leaders including, Rajnath Singh, Gadkari and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, have held a series of meeting with other leaders to build a consensus on government formation before the election results are announced.
They all will meet Modi in Gandhinagar to discuss their party`s strategy after the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls.
The talks will also focus on the future role of LK Advani and another senior leader MM Joshi, who is not believed to be in good terms with the Gujarat Chief Minister. If sources are to be believed, Advani may be asked to head the National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP so as to maintain the power balance.
The BJP top brass is in quandary since both Advani and Joshi are very senior to the party`s PM candidate and the central leadership is also not sure whether the two will like to work in his Cabinet. In all probability, Advani may be asked to continue as chairman of NDA in the event of Modi becoming the PM.
In the government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Advani, 86, was the deputy Prime Minister. In the Lok Sabha polls held in 2009, he had been named as the BJP`s prime ministerial candidate, but the party failed to dislodge the UPA government at the Centre. The BJP was reduced to a mere 116 seats in the Lok Sabha.
Joshi, along with Vajpayee and Advani, was part of the troika which guided the party in the early 1990s. In fact, Modi had accompanied Joshi when the latter undertook his 47-day Bharat Ekta Yatra to hoist the Tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar in defiance of prohibitory orders.
The equations between them and Modi have since drastically changed, with the PM candidate emerging as the new saffron mascot who, going by exit poll forecasts, may lead BJP to power at the Centre, ending Congress` decade-long rule.
Both Advani and Joshi had opposed Modi`s elevation as BJP`s PM nominee, but were overruled.