L.K. Advani attempted to shift the focus away from Mr. Modi by saying that Sushma Swaraj with her brilliant speech on the way ahead has left him with nothing to say.

In a blistering attack on the Congress, the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said the party had sacrificed national interests at the altar of “the family” — an obvious reference to the Nehru-Gandhi clan.

Declaring that the time has come to get rid of the ‘termite’ — the Congress — Mr. Modi, however, told the enthusiastic delegates at the BJP National Council meeting that talk of who would be the party’s prime ministerial candidate is futile. Nevertheless, in the course of his 45-minute speech, he chose not to restrain the delegates who repeatedly cheered with the slogan ‘desh ke neta kaisa ho, modi jaise ho’ (nation’s leader should be like Modi).

L.K. Advani, who was billed to wind up the session with his guidance message to the rank and file, attempted to shift the focus away from Mr. Modi by saying that the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj with her brilliant speech on the way ahead has left him with nothing to say.

Mr. Advani almost compared her to the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and said he [Advani] always hesitated to speak in public after Mr. Vajpayee’s speech. The former Deputy Prime Minister also praised the Gujarat Chief Minister and in equal terms the Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Chauhan. Mr. Advani said some speeches by the leaders are so captivating that those who follow them end up as victims.

On the Deputy Leader of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad, who moved the political resolution immediately after Mr. Modi finished his speech, Mr. Advani quipped amid laughter, “Prasadji is a good speaker but no one in the auditorium was interested…Sometimes this happens in Parliament also. Only those who make noises end up making headlines”.

In his attack on ‘the family’, Mr. Modi said that it never allowed anyone who posed a threat to grow and compared Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to a “nightwatchman”.

“Once Sitaram Kesri was Congress President. We felt as if a nightwatchman was sitting. Because if a competent person comes, what happens to the family? And I remember the time Kesri was thrown out of office. Is such democracy seen anywhere? Then when the time came to form government, they chose a PM who can do what the family wants, so another nightwatchman. The nation never thought the night will be so long and dark. As a buffer, they appointed an economist to the post”, he said to thundering applause.

He went on to praise former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. “If Pranab Mukherjee was PM, so much ruin would not have happened. But then, if Pranab Da is successful what will happen to the family? So this culture of nightwatchman.”

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