LK Advani resigns from all positions in BJP

PTI, 10-06-2013 11:28:28

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NEW DELHI: The rift in BJP was on Monday wide open with L K Advani quitting from all the party posts, apparently opposing the elevation of his one-time protege Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as election campaign committee chief.


85-year-old Advani, a founder member of the BJP and considered the party patriarch after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, resigned from all main fora of the party -- parliamentary board, national executive and election committee.

In his resignation letter to party President Rajnath Singh, who announced the appointment of Modi as chairman of the election campaign committee yesterday at the BJP national executive, he rued that the BJP was no longer the "same idealistic party" created by Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Deendayal Upadhyaya, Nanaji Deshmukh and Vajpayee.

"For some time I have been finding it difficult to reconcile either with the current functioning of the party, or the direction in which it is going," he said.

"Most leaders of ours are now concerned just with their personal agendas," Advani said in his one-page resignation.

Advani had skipped the three-day deliberations of the party in Goa over the weekend citing health reasons. This was the first time Advani had stayed away from the national executive and the office bearers’ meeting prior to it.

In the letter, Advani said, "All my life I have found working for the Jana Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party a matter of great pride and endless satisfaction for myself".

After finding fault with the way the party was being run now, he concluded the letter saying, "I have decided, therefore, to resign from the three main fora of the party, namely, the national executive, the parliamentary board and the election committee. This may be regarded as my resignation letter," he said.

Advani’s letter was delivered in person to Singh at 11 am. Advani and Singh had a meeting later at 12:30 pm.

Sources said Rajnath Singh and Modi were to go together to Advani’s house and get his blessings. But Advani asked Singh to come alone for a meeting with him. When the two met, Advani expressed anger and resentment over Modi’s elevation.

Singh is believed to have requested Advani to withdraw his resignation but the party veteran said he was firm on his decision.

Significantly, Advani continues to be chairman of the BJP parliamentary party and working chairman of NDA.

Party sources said that Singh has not accepted his resignation and efforts will be made to make him withdraw it.

In the midst of media speculation over his absence that was ascribed to his reservations over Modi’s elevation, the Gujarat chief minister claimed yesterday that he had talked to Advani and got his blessings.

Party leaders, including President Rajnath Singh, had put a brave face, saying it was ill health that kept Advani away from the Goa deliberations.

"Whatever has happened has happened on the basis of consensus," Singh had said yesterday after declaring Modi as BJP’s election campaign chief.

Meanwhile, BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar, considered an Advani loyalist, rushed to Advani’s house.

LK Advani: the compelling journey of a compulsive politician(NDTV)

LK Advani did not, for the first time since the birth of the BJP, attend a national executive meeting this weekend. The 85-year-old pleaded illness, stayed home in Delhi had wrote a blog that talked about a wounded Bhishma Pitamah lying on a bed of arrows in the Mahabharata.

On Monday, at about 2 pm, Mr Advani - one half of the Vajpayee-Advani duo that propelled the BJP from a party with two Lok Sabha MPs in 1984 to ruling party in 1996 - sent in his resignation letter to BJP chief Rajnath Singh. He has quit all party posts.     

Mr Advani is angry that his objections to Narendra Modi being promoted to head a crucial election panel in the party were ignored. In Mr Modi’s anointment many have also written the obituary of the Vajpayee-Advani era in the BJP.  Mr Advani is Mr Modi’s mentor and had at another Goa conclave 11 years ago, saved his job.

But the man who has fashioned himself on Sardar Vallabhai Patel, also called the Iron Man of India, has sent out a signal that he has much steel left in him yet. His resignation has thrown the party into unprecedented crisis.

Mr Modi’s accession yesterday is seen by many as a step towards declaring the Gujarat Chief Minster the BJP’s presumptive Prime Minster in 2014. Mr Advani, referred to by detractors as the BJP’s perennial PM-in- waiting, was the man the BJP backed in that role in the 2009 elections. He is said to fancy his chance one more time.

And, LK Advani is not used to being snubbed in the BJP. For many years his word was law. He served as Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s powerful Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, the hawkish foil to the soft-spoken, poet Prime Minister who used his legendary diplomatic skills to hold together a chariot called the National Democratic Alliance pulled by up to 23 very different horses, often in different directions.

Many years ago, LK Advani was the original Hindutva poster-boy. In 1986, after he became party president,  Mr Advani gauged a chance to consolidate the Hindu vote-bank. He played not just the Hindutva plank and but also canny politics. In the 1989 elections, the BJP backed the Janata Dal’s VP Singh, who became Prime Minister.  

That year, he also launched the Ram Janmbhoomi movement. He converted a luxury bus into a rath and called his trip a Rath Yatra, not his last. It was flagged off from Somnath in Gujarat and he went from state to state mobilising support for a Ram temple be built at the disputed Ramjanbhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, where he intended to end his yatra.

He didn’t get there. Lalu Yadav, then Chief Minister of neighbouring Bihar, arrested him.    

It all worked politically in the 1991 elections. The BJP was now the second largest party in the Lok Sabha, after the Congress. LK Advani was Leader of Opposition.

On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished by kar sevaks. Mr Advani is one of the main people accused in the Babri Masjid case.

Much later, a much mellow Mr Advani would describe that day as the "saddest day of my life." By then he had reinvented himself.  

Mr Advani was born in Karachi, now in Pakistan, in 1927. He studied to be a lawyer and made his political debut as a volunteer of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS. Even as Deputy PM he would be spotted proud in the RSS uniform of khaki shorts.  

Hi political journey saw him join the Jan Sangh in 1951, the Janata Dal in 1977, when he became a minister in the Morarji Desai government and finally, the Bharatiya Janata Party when the Jan Sangh withdrew from the Janata Dal and regrouped into the new party in December 1980. In the 1984 elections the BJP won two seats; Mr Advani represented the party in the Rajya Sabha.

In 1996, the BJP was invited to form government as the single largest party with 161 seats. It would famously last 13 days, but the small right-wing party had arrived at the Centre.  Two turbulent years later, the BJP was back in teh saddle.

The Vajpayee-Advani did not expect to lose the 2004 elections. But they did and Mr Advani back as Leader of the Opposition. An unwell Mr Vajpayee retired and Mr Advani was now the BJP’s tallest leader. In 2005 he had an open falling out with the RSS, which was furious that he had described Mohammad Ali Jinnah as a secular leader on a visit to Pakistan.

In December that year, Mr Advani quit as BJP president after the RSS suggested that the party needed new blood. He was 78.


JD-U will come out with stand soon: Nitish on Modi

JD-U, which is opposed to Narendra Modi’s projection as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, today said it will discuss all aspects of his anointment as the Campaign Committee chief and will spell out its stand soon.

"We have seen the report and have taken cognisance of the meanings implied in it. We will discuss it in the party. We will come out with our stand on the issue after examining the entire situation and considering all the aspects in the party", Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters here.

Kumar, who has time and again expressed his antipathy towards Modi, refused to elaborate further on the issue, saying no more questions are required on this subject and advised reporters to keep their questions pending till JD-U finalises its response on the matter.

He also denied reports in a section of media that BJP President Rajnath Singh had talked to him before the decision on Modi’s anointment.

"There was no such conversation between me and Rajnath Singh. Such reports are baseless. I was in the Seva Yatra and no such talk could happen," he said.
Asked about JD-U setting a deadline till November for BJP, Kumar said, "We will choose the timing."

When repeatedly asked about the time-frame, he replied, "Soon."

JD-U is the second largest constituent of the BJP-led NDA and has strong reservations about Modi. Party leaders have time and again expressed their antipathy to Modi and the Bihar Chief Minister has been the most vocal among them.

Kumar had even given a deadline till December this year to the BJP to declare its Prime Ministerial candidate, saying the candidate should be one, who is acceptable to all, which was interpreted by analysts as JD-U’s No to Modi.

The JD-U had yesterday termed Modi’s anointment as campaign committee chief as the "internal matter" of BJP.


Comments on this Article
Jossey Saldanha, Mapusa Mon, June-10-2013, 9:17
Advani will do the same what Yeddy did to Karnataka.......
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