The Shiv Sena on Monday lamented senior BJP leader L.K. Advani’s decision to resign from key party posts, saying: “one cannot imagine an NDA without Mr. Advani.”
The contribution of Mr. Advani and Mr. Vajpayee in building the BJP and strengthening the NDA was inestimable, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said. “Mr. Advani’s contribution is invaluable. His guidance is needed for the younger generation entering politics … We must convince him to change his decision.”
At the same time, the Sena welcomed the BJP’s decision to appoint Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as chairman of the party’s 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign committee. Mr. Thackeray called up the Gujarat Chief Minister on Sunday to congratulate him on his appointment.
An editorial in the Sena’s mouthpiece, Saamana, justified Mr. Modi’s elevation, commenting that the average age of Mr. Advani and his colleagues was 85 years. “This cannot bring the BJP to power. Hence this new move [Mr. Modi’s appointment] must be welcomed.” The editorial also called for settlement of internal wrangling within the BJP once and for all.
Sena spokesman and MP Sanjay Raut assured that the Sena would extend its full support to Mr. Modi, while at the same time remarking that Mr. Advani ought to be placated. “He is one of the tallest leaders of the NDA,” he opined, while likening the BJP stalwart to Bhishma.