Wishes pour in for the senior leader on his 85th birthday

Remaining non-committal on whether he would like to be the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2014 election, senior party leader L.K. Advani on Thursday stuck to his oft-repeated stance that the party has given him much more than the top post.

“The party has given me so much [in] all my life that when somebody says you have to become the Prime Minister, I say becoming Prime Minister is not more than what I have got from the party,” Mr. Advani, who turned 85 on Thursday, told journalists.

RSS not for Advani

There have been speculations that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is not in favour of Mr. Advani being a candidate for the top job.

The party leadership has also contributed to the ambiguity by maintaining that the party has several persons qualified to occupy the position. Party president Nitin Gadkari has gone on record several times listing at least half-a-dozen possible candidates.

Mr. Gadkari, who is in the eye of a storm within and outside the party on account of charges of irregularities in a firm owned by him, was among the first to greet Mr. Advani.

Mr. Advani’s absence from a meeting earlier this week in which the party reiterated its support to Mr. Gadkari had triggered speculations that the senior leader had distanced himself from the party president.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart, Arun Jaitley, too wished Mr. Advani. Ms. Swaraj said she and other BJP leaders had “learnt politics at Mr. Advani’s feet.”

President Pranab Mukherjee sent flowers to Mr. Advani. Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the senior leader on the phone to wish him. Mr. Ansari sent him flowers and a letter.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently busy with electioneering in his State, called up Mr. Advani to convey his wishes.

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