M A I N   N E W S

BJP gives Advani a choice, he opts for Gandhinagar
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 20
BJP veteran LK Advani, who was sulking since yesterday over the party’s decision to field him from Gandhinagar instead of Bhopal, on Thursday agreed to abide by the wishes of his party and fight the Lok Sabha elections from the constituency earmarked for him.

In a statement issued at the end of a day that saw discussions and visits to the party patriarch’s residence by senior leaders, including party’s PM candidate Narendra Modi, Advani said: “I have decided to contest the 2014 General Elections from Gandhinagar itself. I have conveyed my opinion to Shri Rajnath Singh.”

“...It has been agreed that the choice between the two Parliamentary seats (Gandhinagar and Bhopal) should be left to me, I am deeply touched by this gesture of my party colleagues,” he said.

“This morning, Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister, Gujarat, also came over to my residence and emphasised that the people of Gujarat are keen that I represent Gandhinagar Lok Sabha once again,” Advani said, thus ending yet another episode of direct confrontation between him and the Gujarat CM following the latter’s elevation in the party hierarchy. Sources say the party’s ideological fountainhead RSS wanted early closure to the episode to avoid further embarrassment and damage to the party’s poll prospects. This was conveyed to all involved. The sequence of events, including Modi’s visit to Advani’s residence and the statement by party president Rajnath Singh, can only be interpreted as a face-saver and a way out for all concerned, including Advani.

Modi was asked to visit Advani and assure him all support in Gujarat. Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley also met Advani separately to convince him to contest from the seat chosen for him yesterday. Sources say the party may also agree to field his close aide Harin Pathak from Ahmedabad East.

Rajnath Singh had earlier stated: “The party will respect the opinion of Shri Advaniji with regard to his choice of constituency for contesting the election.” He said he had consulted members of the Parliamentary Board and the 
Central Election Committee and the unanimous view was that the choice should be left to Advani. 





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