Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh
New Delhi: Patriarch of the Bhartiya Janata Party gave the party`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi his birthday present a day earlier. After vociferously opposing the candidature of Gujarat CM as the BJP`s face for 2014 polls, the senior leader heaped praise on the man on September 16 in Chhattisgarh and called him his `friend`.
Incidentally, when the two met on September 15 at veteran leader Ram Jethmalani`s residence in the national capital to celebrate his 90th birthday, the cold vibes between them were more than evident.
The fact that Modi was made BJP`s PM candidate for the next General Elections inspite of his fierce opposition to the move must have been difficult for Advani to accept. Though BJP leaders have been repeatedly saying that Advani was not sulking and that he was their leader and mentor, the fact is that the announcement by Rajnath Singh was perceived by many as the senior leader`s humiliation.
At the same time it was being widely speculated in the media as to what would be Advani`s next move. In the evening of his life, the octogenarian leader probably does not have too many options left before him. After having resigned from all party posts after Modi was anointed as the party`s poll panel chief, Advani could not have taken that road again. And if he starts criticising Modi publicly then it will only lead to BJP being embarrassed at a time when it is taking on the Congress on issues of corruption and policy paralysis and hoping to come back to power after a decade in the opposition. Also, it will only give credence to the remarks that BJP is a house divided and at the same time it will lower Advani`s stature not only within his party but amongst the general public too.
When it is said that the man, who along with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is credited to have turned the BJP from a fringe to a national player, is isolated within his party, then there seems to be much truth in it. And with the RSS too backing Modi and making it amply clear that Advani was not acceptable to them as the PM candidate, then probably the senior leader does not have too many options left before him, then to toe the party line.
Whether the move to go ahead with the Gujarat Chief Minister in 2014 will pay the BJP dividends or not, will only be known after the Lok Sabha polls but meanwhile, as far as Advani is concerned, many feel that he should redeem himself by bowing out of active politics with respect and accept the role of the guardian and mentor of the BJP.
For the time being, it seems that Advani is coming around and reconciling to the fact that it is his protégé Narendra Modi who is the man of the moment now. However, there is no crystal ball to look into and say what will happen tomorrow.