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Modi meets Advani in Delhi, turns down Ayodhya invite
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 18
In a bid to mend fences and to project himself as a moderate, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today called on veteran leader LK Advani at his residence and declined an invitation to visit Ayodhya, apparently to avoid starting a fresh controversy on BJP’s ‘Hindutva’ plank, especially after the split with the JD(U) over his “secular” credentials.

Reports emerging from the CM’s office in Ahmedabad clarified that Modi “politely declined” an invitation to attend the ‘Amrit Mahotsava’ on the 75th birthday of Ram Janma Bhumi Nyas Trust president Mahant Nritya Gopal Das. Modi expressed his inability to attend the function and wished the Mahant success for the function.

Modi’s scheduled meeting with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia was followed by an informal meeting with general secretaries at the BJP headquarters. In his first meeting as poll campaign chief, he discussed preparations for the forthcoming Assembly elections in five states.

The focus, however, was his hour-long meeting with party patriarch Advani at his Prithviraj Road residence. Modi and Advani are believed to have discussed the recent political developments, including the split in the NDA. Advani, who had resigned from all organisational posts to register his protest against Modi’s elevation, is understood to have expressed his views on the recent political developments.

Though Advani withdrew his resignation after the intervention of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and persuasion by BJP leaders, sources say the contentious issue was far from over.

Political observers, however, believe that despite the attempts to mend fences, issues remain. Even though the RSS has made it clear that Modi was their man, a section within the BJP believes that the last word on the contentious issue — Modi as BJP’s PM candidate — is yet to be said.

Modi also spent an hour with ailing former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and met senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi.

Meeting ‘positive’

  • Modi and Advani are believed to have discussed the recent political developments, including the split in the NDA
  • Advani reportedly told Modi that he was not opposed to the new post of election campaign committee chief
  • Instead, he would have preferred two separate teams to handle the upcoming state and national elections so that the workload could be divided for effective management
  • The meeting was termed “positive” by insiders, with Modi seeking Advani’s blessings and promising to consult senior party leaders while taking decisions




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