The two share a dais at inauguration of old-age home
After a long gap, veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi shared a dais, indicating a melting of the bitterness between them.
Mr. Advani was here on Monday to inaugurate an old-age home.
Later, the two also attended a meeting together in Gandhinagar of the Somnath Temple Trust, of which Mr. Modi's long-time bitter critic and political rival Keshubhai Patel, former Chief Minister, is the chairman.
At the Ahmedabad function, Mr. Advani heaped praises on Mr. Modi for figuring on the cover of Time magazine. He pointed out that Mr. Modi was the third Gujarati to make it to the cover of the prestigious magazine after Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Incidentally, Mr. Advani on Sunday praised Mr. Modi for this in his blog. “Mr. Modi's ability to get things done is in stark contrast to the present Congress-led UPA government in New Delhi,” Mr. Advani had said.
The relations between Mr. Modi and Mr. Advani reached an all-time low after the Chief Minister made his prime ministerial ambitions clear during his three-day Sadbhavana Mission in Ahmedabad in September.
Mr. Modi had also managed to bulldoze Mr. Advani's “anti-corruption yatra,” refusing to co-operate to launch the yatra from Gujarat, forcing the veteran leader to shift the starting point to Bihar and invited Mr. Modi's strongest critic, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, to flag it off.
Bitterness in ties
Though Mr. Modi attended the yatra's two-day Gujarat leg, neither made any attempt to hide the bitterness in their relations.
Since then, Mr. Advani had visited his parliamentary constituency of Gandhinagar or some other parts of Gujarat for various official functions, but there was no opportunity of a meeting between the two.
In most cases, Mr. Modi stayed out of Gandhinagar for one function or the other, when Mr. Advani was in the State capital.
Mr. Modi's exchanges with Mr. Patel at the Somnath Trust meeting could also go a long way in helping the Chief Minister in the coming Assembly elections.
Considered the most accepted leader of the Patels, particularly of the “Leuva Patel” faction, Mr. Keshubhai Patel, like before the 2007 Assembly elections, was known to be spreading discontent among the powerful Patels against Mr. Modi which, if left unchecked, could disturb Mr. Modi's electoral calculations.
The Patels, the farming community, had lately developed an antipathy against the Modi administration for his alleged anti-farmer policies in favour of his proactive massive industrialisation and benefits given to a few “favoured” business houses.