There was an uneasy calm in the State BJP after veteran leader L.K. Advani resigned from all party committees. Even on Sunday, when Narendra Modi was given the charge of the party’s election campaign committee, there were no celebrations here.
Both Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan and State unit president Narendra Tomar refused to comment on Mr. Advani’s resignation. Former Chief Minister Uma Bharti, who claimed she was recuperating from heat-induced illness here, said she was leaving to Delhi on Tuesday to convince the veteran BJP leader to withdraw his papers.
“He is large-hearted and won’t keep anger in his heart. Modi is like a son to him. It was he who elevated Modi from a (RSS) pracharak to a political leader. He has not quit because of Modi. It may be due to some other reason,” she said.
“Some other reason” was the chime that rang from every BJP leader who spoke to the press. Industries Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya said that Mr. Advani’s resignation “will demoralise workers. Rajnath ji spoke to all of us in Goa. I did not expect Advani ji to quit. We will pacify him in two to three days.”
Former Chief Minister Kailash Joshi said he was “saddened by the sequence of events.”
Off the record, leaders confessed that senior cadres were very annoyed with the developments. “Even if they want Modi, how could they stand by when Advani ji’s house was attacked? Will Modi come and pacify workers here? We've groomed people to emulate Advani and (former PM) Atal Bihari Vajpayee. All this is very wrong and has harmed the party,” said a former minister.
The State Congress issued a press release asking Mr. Chouhan to come clean on whether he supports Mr. Advani or Mr. Modi.
“When he became CM, Lal Krishna Advani was closest to him. He was invited to the State more than any other central leader. He [Chouhan] even made arrangements for Advani family’s personal visits. Advani was Shivraj Chouhan’s shield whenever he was in trouble. The CM must come clean on whom he supports now,” said party spokesman Pramod Gugalia.