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L.K. Advani to lead BJP in Lok Sabha

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AT THE HELM AGAIN: L.K. Advani being greeted by BJP president Rajnath Singh after he was re-elected party leader in the Lok Sabha by the parliamentary wing, in New Delhi on Sunday.
AT THE HELM AGAIN: L.K. Advani being greeted by BJP president Rajnath Singh after he was re-elected party leader in the Lok Sabha by the parliamentary wing, in New Delhi on Sunday.

Neena Vyas

Says Congress success was due to voters’ desire for stability and bipolarity

NEW DELHI: At its first meeting after the general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s parliamentary wing on Sunday formally elected L.K. Advani as its leader in the Lok Sabha. This makes him the Leader of the Opposition yet again.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Advani warned the Congress not to misread the mandate and make the “mistake” of taking it to be a “resounding endorsement” of the United Progressive Alliance government’s performance over the last five years.

Mr. Advani said the Congress’ success was due to the voters’ desire for “stability and bipolarity,” indicating that the second part, bipolarity, was what the BJP had contributed to India’s polity.

His reading of the mandate was that it was a vote against the Third Front, which had been routed, leading to gains for the Congress.

Mr. Advani hoped the Congress-led UPA would play the role of a “responsible government” and adhere to the “canons of good governance expected by the people.” He offered “constructive opposition.”

House leaders

Immediately after the unanimous and entirely expected election, party president Rajnath Singh, who presided over the meeting, authorised Mr. Advani to decide who would be the party leader in the Rajya Sabha, the two deputy leaders in the two Houses, and party whips. Besides, he was also authorised to set up the parliamentary executive committee.

However, it is expected that these decisions will be taken only after due consultations with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leadership.

Mr. Advani’s name was proposed by Jaswant Singh and seconded by Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj from the Lok Sabha and Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley and Shanta Kumar from the Rajya Sabha. The meeting signalled his election with the thumping of desks. A number of MPs garlanded Mr. Advani.

Warns Congress

Mr. Advani, who was persuaded by Mr. Singh to accept the position once again after he threatened not to, virtually warned the Congress to “correctly assess the meaning of the people’s verdict” and not take it as an endorsement of its policies.

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