“The details are being worked out, Gadkari has agreed”
Some time between now and the start of the winter session of Parliament, veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani will once again undertake a ‘yatra’ and traverse the whole country to raise awareness against corruption.
“I will undertake a ‘yatra’ against corruption. The details are being worked out. Adhyakshji [Nitin Gadkari] has agreed,” Mr. Advani, flanked by the two leaders of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, announced at a press conference here on Thursday.
Asked whether this signalled that he would be his party’s prime ministerial candidate during the next Lok Sabha election, Mr. Advani replied: “phir wahi ghisi piti baat [you are again on the same old subject].”
Did he think that a mid-term election was possible? Mr. Advani repeated what he recently said in Nellore, but stopped short of asking for an early election, which he had done in Nellore.
“I said a few days ago this government’s legitimacy is over. The government may not think that, but I do believe the government’s mandate is exhausted.”
The ‘yatra’ would be “more or less like the earlier ones.” It would be against corruption and would focus on clean politics, he said.
When a reporter asked him whether he intended to go through Bellary during his ‘yatra’, his response was that it was a suggestion.
Would Mr. Advani invite Anna Hazare to join the ‘yatra’? In response, he simply folded his hands as if to say ‘excuse me.’
On the proposed ‘yatra’ RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said “all affiliates of the RSS have already been asked to actively participate in all anti-corruption campaigns, as we did in the Anna Hazare-led movement.”
The last ‘rath-yatra’ undertaken by the 84-year-old BJP leader was the ‘Uday Yatra’ in March-April 2004 ahead of the election that year. At that time, he was master of the BJP party machine, unlike this time when Nitin Gadkari is in the saddle as party president.
His most famous one was the ‘Ram rath yatra’ from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990 – cut short at Samastipur by Lalu Prasad who arrested him. The BJP then withdrew support to the V.P. Singh government leading to its fall and a fresh election.