Bengaluru : On a lunar eclipse day, the shadow of a new and aggressive leadership of the BJP spearheaded by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah fell sharp on the BJP’s `Bheeshma Pitamaha’ L K Advani eclipsing and nudging him to the pages of history. Advani, often referred to as `margdarshak,’ did not speak at the important national executive committee meeting here on the concluding day, signalling the end of an era.
Sources in the BJP had two versions: one that Modi and Shah half-heartedly coaxed ARaj Shankardvani to speak, but the latter declined to do so. The other version is that the top leadership of the party deliberately did not include Advani’s name in the list of speakers fearing that he may rake up issues that may put the present leadership to embarrassment and eclipse the positive outcomes of the Bengaluru two-day meeting.
All the leaders who spoke at the meet referred to Advani as `margdarshak’(one who shows the path), but the `Lohapurush’ (iron man) had no role to play, except remain a passive listener. Advani did not attend the last national executive committee meeting held in Goa in 2013 and this triggered a series of speculations. This time, he attended but preferred to be on a maunvrith, probably realising the end of the Advani-Atal Bihar Vajpayee era
A founding member of the BJP, Advani has attended and addressed all national executive meetings of the party since 1980 when the party was founded, except the one at Goa. Though he was present at the executive committee meeting and the public rally held here, he refused to utter a word. Senior party leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley confirmed that Advani did not make any speech, but refused to give any reason behind his silence.
“Whatever arrangements (for the meeting) are done, they are done after consultation with the whole party,” Jaitley told reporters. “Advani ji is our senior leader. He can address us whenever he wants,” he added. Advani’s discomfort with Modi is well known. The rift between the 87-year-old political stalwart and Modi began when the latter was appointed head of the campaign committee for the 2014 general election at the national executive meet at Goa in June 2013. Not only did Advani skip the meet, but he resigned from all party posts a day after the national executive ended.
Though a patch-up was worked out between Advani and Modi, it did not last long. Soon after Amit Shah took over as BJP president, Advani was shunted out of the top decision making body – parliamentary board of the party and a new “Margdarshak Mandal” (guidance committee) was formed. It has Advani, Vajpayee and Murli Manohar Joshi, the three senior-most members, along with Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Published on: Sunday, April 05, 2015, 12:35 PM IST
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