Advani still in PM race?

Political developments are taking place at an extremely fast pace within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). While on one hand Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi continues to address gatherings in different cities fueling speculation of his Prime ministerial ambitions, on the other supporters of veteran politician LK Advani are making feeble attempts at pushing his case one last time.

On the BJP foundation day last week, Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel took everyone by surprise when he said that the next Lok Sabha polls will be held under the leadership of Advani who was also seated on the dais along with party chief Rajnath Singh. Though Goel later clarified that his statement was not meant to project Advani for the Prime Ministership but to only recognize his status as the top most leader of the party, his remarks brought to fore acute factionalism within the party. It has become evident that Modi will have to clear many hurdles within the Saffron Brigade if he has to get the nod for being the BJP’s main man in the next Parliamentary polls.

Advani’s camp has since been talking about his (Advani’s) capacity to lead from the front to make a strong case for a leader who has apparently been told by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh not to contest the next Lok Sabha elections. Whether this is true is for the RSS to clarify but to imagine Advani in Lok Sabha without being the leader of his group will be something hard to believe.

There are many in the political arena who are wondering whether Advani is using the old ploy of Doves and Hawks to get another nomination for himself. Old timers may recall that at one point of time Advani himself was seen as a Hawk while Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Dove within the BJP. Ultimately Vajpayee got the Prime Minister’s job. In changed circumstances, Advani is that Dove, particularly after his Jinnah controversy and Modi is the Hawk. Obviously, Advani supporters may think that he will thus get it.

But than anyone with political understanding may also figure that for Modi, there are two obstacles before he is made the Prime Ministerial nominee. The first is to get the nod from his party and that means leaders of his own generation mostly. The second stage involves possible allies. But in the first stage itself, Modi will never allow from his position of strength any BJP leader who is of his own generation to get on to become the BJP’s PM nominee. If he finds that there was a difficulty for him, he would opt for Advani or even Murali Manohar Joshi rather than Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley or Rajnath Singh. This is because if anyone from his generation comes in, he or she will obviously have a long innings.

But what is also making things not too good for Modi is his frequent interactions in different places where some of the examples he has been giving are putting people off. For instance at one place he said that when you have your Tea do you know where the Milk comes from. It comes from My Gujarat. Someone should ask him where do the Tea leaves come from. The Milk is added only later. The reverse example can be that when you sit in a Car in Gujarat, do you know where it comes from? From Haryana.

Therefore, it would be in his own interest that he should maintain a low profile for sometime to consolidate his position within his own party.

But the way things are, there will be a lot happening inside the BJP.

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