Saying ‘most leaders concerned just with personal agendas’, the BJP patriarch quits all party posts
The ink had barely dried on the BJP decree making Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi its election campaign chief when the party was hit by a stinger missile on Monday — its senior leader L. K. Advani announced his resignation from all party posts.
In the evening, the BJP’s top leaders unanimously resolved to reject Mr. Advani’s resignation with an appeal to him to take the letter back.
Clearly unhappy over Mr. Modi’s elevation in the party hierarchy, Mr. Advani summoned the party president, Rajnath Singh, and handed over a terse letter, much to the shock and disbelief of the rank and file.
In his one-page resignation letter, Mr. Advani, 85, a founder member of the BJP, said: “For some time, I have been finding it difficult to reconcile either with the current functioning of the party, or the direction in which it is going... most leaders of ours are now concerned just with their personal agendas.”
Mr. Advani has resigned from all the main bodies of the party — Parliamentary Board, National Executive and Election Committee.
Senior leaders asserted that notwithstanding Mr. Advani’s decision there was no question of revoking Mr. Modi’s appointment. They are hopeful of tiding over the crisis but are concerned that Mr. Advani has left no scope for reconciliation.
It was no secret that Mr. Advani, who stayed away citing ill-health from the National Executive meeting — which concluded in Goa on Sunday — for the first time since the party was created in 1980, was not reconciled to the prospect of Mr. Modi’s anointment.
However, no one in the BJP or the sangh parivar had anticipated that Mr. Advani would take the matter to the brink. Expectedly, the response was swift with all-round appeals to Mr. Advani not to precipitate matters.
It has not gone unnoticed that Mr. Advani has not resigned from his position as the working chairperson of the NDA. Senior BJP leaders went into a huddle in the evening at the residence of BJP president Rajnath Singh to take stock of the situation. The worry is not so much the impact on its ranks as it is on the allies in the NDA, particularly the Janata Dal(U) for which Mr. Modi is anathema.
According to sources, Mr. Advani had asked the BJP president to come to his residence. When Mr. Singh informed him that he intended to visit him along with Mr. Modi, who was to fly in from Ahmedabad, Mr. Advani told the BJP chief that he wanted to see him alone. Mr. Singh failed to appease Mr. Advani when he called on him at his Prithviraj Road residence here in the afternoon.