Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh
New Delhi: In what must be music to the ears of Narendra Modi, party patriarch LK Advani said on Wednesday that he would be happy if the Gujarat Chief Minister becomes the next prime minister of India. At the same time, with the next General Elections just a few months away, the Bharatiya Janata Party would also be relieved by Advani`s change of stance.
The senior party leader has been opposing Modi`s rise in the party for months now. He had not attended BJP`s parliamentary board meet last month in the national capital, when the decision was taken to anoint Modi as the party`s PM candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. A reportedly sulking Advani had also not attended the press meet when BJP president Rajnath Singh had announced Gujarat`s CM`s name as the party`s face for 2014. All other top party leaders, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley and others, were present on the occasion.
And though Modi had gone to meet the senior leader after the announcement, the relations between them were strained, to say the least. As per reports, Advani and some others like Murli Manohar Joshi and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj wanted the decision to be postponed till the Assembly Elections in five states which are to be held later this year.
However, Advani`s will was overruled and the party took the decision to go ahead with Modi`s name. There was huge pressure from the party`s cadre to name Modi and the RSS too had reportedly given the green signal to the Gujarat CM`s name. It was said then that given the circumstances there was no option but to sideline Advani.
However, this was not the first time that Advani had made his objections regarding Modi more than apparent. When the Gujarat CM was appointed the party`s poll panel chief in the Goa conclave in June this year, Advani had resigned from all party posts in protest. But, he took them back soon, after meeting top RSS and BJP leaders.
Indications of Advani reconciling to the idea of Modi as the party`s PM candidate came when he praised the Gujarat CM at an event in Chhattisgarh on September 16. He had praised the good work done by Modi in his state and called him a friend.
Ironically, when the two had met at veteran lawyer Ram Jethmalani`s residence to celebrate his 90th birthday in the national capital a day before, the cold vibes between them were more than apparent.
Thus, it can be said that given the swell of ground support for Narendra Modi in the rank and file of the BJP, Advani too probably realises that maybe the strongman from Gujarat is their best bet for 2014 polls, if they have to defeat the Congress and come back to power at the Centre after a decade. Also, the man who is credited, along with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, of turning the BJP from a fringe to a national player, has perhaps reconciled to the fact that his own future in the party lies in being its mentor.