Sanjay Basak, Asian Age Correspondent
New Delhi, 27 January 2013. Efforts are on to sideline senior BJP leader and NDA working chairman L.K. Advani once and for all. A majority in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh wants Mr Advani to quit active politics and not contest the forthcoming general elections.
This section of top RSS leaders feel that “it’s time Advaniji plays the role of a mentor instead of indulging in day-to-day politics”. The RSS is apparently “upset” with Mr Advani for “masterminding” the exit of former BJP president Nitin Gadkari. After the income-tax authorities launched field enquiries against Mr Gadkari’s group of companies, Mr Advani, during his meeting with a senior RSS leader, cautioned the Sangh “not to push the BJP to accept a second term for Gadkari”, sources said.
Making it clear that he was against any “meddling” by the Sangh in the BJP’s internal affairs, he told this particular RSS leader that there should be someone in the BJP “who must have the last word as far as organisational matters were concerned”. Mr Advani gave the example of former party president Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, who was the last word as far as the BJP was concerned.
Without, however, referring to himself, Mr Advani made it amply clear to the Sangh that “someone along the lines of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya should emerge in the organisation”. He also cautioned RSS not to “blindly back Gadkari for he could become a liability for the party”. Mr Advani’s “feelings and observations” were then conveyed to the RSS top brass, which had thrown its weight behind Mr Gadkari.
Sensing that the BJP was planning to oppose a second term as party president for Mr Gadkari, the RSS pitched for Mr Rajnath Singh. The RSS also strongly opposed Mr Advani’s attempts to push Ms Sushma Swaraj for the top post.
Describing the BJP’s move to oppose Mr Gadkari as a “paranoid reaction”, some RSS functionaries said if Mr Gadkari “came out clean, efforts would be made to restore him as party president”.
Following his role in “ousting” Mr Gadkari, some in the RSS were of the opinion that 86-year-old Mr Advani, who “continues to nurture prime ministerial ambitions, should be asked not to contest the general elections”, sources said. An attempt was being made to create a consensus on the issue in the BJP. Feelers were also being sent to top BJP leaders “not to give Mr Advani a Lok Sabha ticket from Gandhinagar in Gujarat”, sources said.
A senior BJP leader, meanwhile, claimed that Mr Advani, who was determined to contest the Lok Sabha polls, could possibly “create hurdles” for Mr Narendra Modi if the BJP managed to get a majority on its own in the LS polls.