Advani resigns from all BJP posts

FIRSTPOST.COM/NEW DELHI | 10 June 2013 14:21 IST

In a move that perhaps confirmed his falling out with the party over the decision to elevate Narendra Modi to the BJP’s 2014 campaign chief, LK Adavani today resigned from the three posts he held in the party.

“For some time I have been finding myself to reconcile myself with the way the party has been functioning,” he has said in the letter written to BJP president Rajnath Singh, while resigning from the posts in the party’s National executive, it’s parliamentary board and election committee. (Read the full letter here)

After failing to turn up at the BJP’s national executive conclave at Goa citing illness, Advani today returned to work.

Before he took the step to resign, Advani blogged on his website. Of all the topics LK Advani might have been predicted to blog about the day after Sunday’s events, Bishma Pitamah on his bed of arrows wasn’t high on anyone’s list.

Sandwiched between musings on Vishwaroopam and Mussolini was a description of a carving which depicts Bhishma, who has been witness to the Mahabharata since the rule of Shantanu, sermonising to the Pandavas. This was after he was felled by Arjuna on the basis of Bhishma’s own suggestions.

Whether Advani is applying the allegory of a tactical leader who was felled in battle because of his own words is difficult to say with surety, though some have commented on the metaphorical nature of his post. But it is true that Advani has been a towering figure in the BJP for decades. Crediting with building the party from scratch, Advani’s role as a sort of patriarch has been fully consolidated over the past few years.

However, when he decided to praise Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chavan over Modi for his model of inclusive development, the statesman might have bitten off more than he can chew. Advani decided to sit out the BJP conclave in Panaji and his absence had little affect on events, despite initial reports that the party wouldn’t make any big announcements in the absence of a senior leader. Why does Advani think that he can go head-to-head with Modi’s immense popularity amongst the cadre, leaders such as Rajnath Singh, and amongst the general populace?

Some have attributed Advani’s stubbornness to an unwillingness to let go of the dream of power. Advani has always remained number two in the party, for example, in 1999 with Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was last in 2009 that his ambition was thwarted after the party was thrashed and his aspirations of becoming Prime Minister were unfulfilled. Post that, many of his political moves have been explained as those of an old man unwilling to go down without a fight when he sees his personal ambitions being sidelined by the party.

Another factor that gave Advani confidence was his image as a non-divisive leader as compared to Modi. Advani might have been betting on the acceptance of some of the BJP cadre such as Sushma Swaraj, whose support of Modi has been considered half-hearted. If Advani was betting on support from BJP leaders who feared that Modi’s ascension would mean a loss of power for them, this hope has been thwarted as well. The party has made a consolidated effort to present a united front over the past three days, speaking repeatedly of “near-unanimity” in the decision regarding Modi.

Modi’s habit of pushing his own agenda, and how this tendency might not go down well with the RSS, might have been another factor in his defiance of the party’s agenda. But now the RSS has given their go-ahead and evaded the Advani issue (“The RSS is not interfering in the matter and only if the BJP seeks its advice on the Modi-Advani issue, will it duly oblige,” RSS functionary Ram Madhav said yesterday), leaving Advani increasingly isolated.

Another theory which has been advanced in an editorial by political analyst Ajay N Jha is that Advani would have been gunning for a nearly fractured mandate to NDA in 2014. It would have been the last glimmer of hope for Advani, which would be denied to him by the Rajnath Singh-Narendra Modi combination.

But all of Advani’s bets seem to have been lost. His acquiescence with the party’s direction seemed inevitable, as did a seat in the wings, rather than on stage, where he hoped to be. And perhaps this is something Advani couldn’t stomach, prompting today’s move.

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Previous Comments

One leg is in the grave still crave for power. Now join Kangress.

There should be a compulsory retirement for all the 'NETA" above 70 year age. The great leaders of mother India. They have served enough for this great nation. All the deadwood must go to the fireplace.

- Netaji, Bharatmata | 10 th June 2013 16:51


That is the human nature. Nobody wants to remain in a sinking ship.

The party for which he gave his entire life, ignored him and there was no option but to resign.

The 'guru' got 'dakshina' from his shishyas'

Some say do not kill the cows. Here is a case where they killed their own bull.

He must have never even dreamt that this would be his fate in the end.

- Francisco, Goa | 10 th June 2013 16:51


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