Saturday, June 08, 2013

Absent Advani triggers speculation about the state of BJP

Panaji: The absence of the senior leader, “party Elder” and “mentor” at the BJP’s two-day national executive starting on Saturday has turned out to be “the story” of the day. The official position in the BJP is that senior leader L.K.Advani is indisposed and he will not be able to attend the meeting. Party insiders have also said that Advani has written to president Rajnath Singh pleading inability to attend the national executive because he is indisposed. Rajnath Singh has apparently requested Advani to take rest. The media speculation is that Advani being unwell is part of the intense struggle in the party about naming Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the chief of the campaign committee, and that Advani is staying away to express his dissent if not displeasure. It is also being speculated that the party would not want to name Modi in the absence of Advani as that would send out a clear signal of the internal fissures. It is a quaint reminder how in the Soviet days, a top party leader’s being absent on grounds of ill health was a veiled political message. Party members are maintaining silence. Their lips are sealed even as there is loud and wide if not wild buzz in the media about the goings on in the party. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the office-bearers says that the party will follow its own agenda, which is about the dismal state of the country after nine years of UPA rule, and that the media cannot set the agenda for the party – that is, name Modi to lead the election campaign as a prelude to his being the PM candidate of the party in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Indications are that the national executive will pass a resolution on internal security on Saturday, and the political resolution, which will be an indictment of the UPA government’s many failures, will be moved and passed on Sunday. The othet conspicuous absentee is Uma Bharati, who too has conveyed to Rajnath Singh that she is running fever and therefore will not be able to attend the national executive.

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