M A I N   N E W S

Advani, Modi share stage at Bhopal rally
Rajnath, Venkaiah, Sushma, Joshi, Uma complete BJP’s Kodak moment
Tribune News Service

Advani’s ‘Narendra bhai’
Claiming a wave across the country in favour of the BJP, Modi unleashed an attack on the UPA government, accusing it of misusing the CBI to target political opponents
He said it will be the agency that will "fight" the coming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections and not the Congress
Advani made a special mention of Modi, addressing him as ‘Narendra bhai’ and presented bouquets to both the Gujarat CM and his MP counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan
The rally also put a lid over speculations of acrimony between Chouhan and Modi over the top post as they both praised each other

New Delhi, September 25
It was the moment the BJP and its political mentor RSS had been waiting for to silence adversaries and sceptics. The show of strength at Bhopal finally saw party patriarch LK Advani and PM candidate Narendra Modi coming together publicly, giving the party the wow moment it had been looking for ever since the tumultuous Goa conclave.

This was the first time Modi and Advani shared the dais since the Gujarat Chief Minister’s declaration as the party’s PM candidate. While the presence of senior leaders such as Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, M Venkaiah Naidu, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti presented to the BJP its picture perfect moment, the rally also put a lid over speculations of acrimony between Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his Gujarat counterpart over the top post.

Organised to commemorate the birth anniversary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, founding member of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the ‘Karyakarta Mahakumbh’ also marked the culmination of Chouhan’s ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ that covered majority of the 230 Assembly constituencies in the election-bound state.

All leaders extolled Modi and Chouhan, who in turn praised each other. Advani made a special mention of Modi, addressing him as Narendra bhai. “The man who the party has chosen as PM candidate, Narendra Bhai, is also here,” he said to the cheering crowd. Advani also presented bouquets to both Modi and Chouhan.

However, a lot is being read into Advani’s response to Modi and Chouhan touching his feet as a mark of respect. To onlookers, the veteran’s response appeared “not so warm” when the Gujarat CM bent down to seek his blessings.

Advani merely folded his hands without looking at Modi while to Chouhan he appeared more effusive. He may have reconciled to Modi’s anointment following RSS intervention, but was still not good with the decision, it appeared.

Some leaders insist that Advani’s grouse was more against the party and the way it was being managed by Rajnath Singh, something that was also reflected by his letter to the party president on September 13. “His problem was with the way the party is being run and this will become clear by changes that now take place in the organisational set up,” a senior leader said.

In the most public show of unhappiness, Advani had stayed away from a Parliamentary Board meeting on September 13 to finalise the announcement on Modi, thus dashing Rajnath’s hopes of a show of unity and strength as mandated by the RSS.

In the days that followed, Advani made some conciliatory moves and even praised Modi at a rally in Chhattisgarh, but clearly the BJP required a Bhopal-like moment to prove that Modi could keep the party together and get the BJP numbers and allies for 2014.

Desperate for new friends, the BJP is hoping to attract at least “five new allies” to the NDA before the General Elections and for that to happen, it is important that it retains MP and Chhattisgarh and wrests Rajasthan and Delhi from the Congress.





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