BJP on Thursday gave indications of yielding to sulking L K Advani’s demand for shifting from Gandhinagar to Bhopal with party chief Rajnath Singh saying the patriarch should choose where to contest, a statement which raised hopes of an early resolution to the problem.
“It is the choice of Advaniji to choose from where he wants to contest,” Singh told a press conference in Chennai when asked to comment on Advani’s unwillingness to contest from Gujarat as decided by the Central Election Committee (CEC) on Friday.
Singh said that after the CEC decision on Wednesday a proposal from the Gujarat unit that Advani contest from Gandhinagar, he had received a proposal from Madhya Pradesh unit inviting Advani contest from Bhopal. “Then I left this option to Advani as to which is the seat from where he would like to contest from — Gandhinagar or Bhopal,” he said.
The statement by Singh, who is likely to meet Advani tonight in Delhi after his return from Chennai, has raised hopes of resolving the problem that the party has encountered since on Wednesday.
The Election Committee, headed by Rajnath Singh, on Wednesday decided to field Advani from Gandhinagar, angering the 86-year-old leader who wanted to shift to Bhopal. His desire to shift from Modi-ruled Gujarat to Bhopal is seen as a reflection of his unease with the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate.
Since then, the party has been trying to placate Advani, with even Modi driving to his residence this morning. Subsequently, some other leaders, including Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu also met Advani.
Modi also met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat here last night after which some RSS leaders are believed to have talked to Advani as well as Rajnath Singh. The BJP President said there is no confusion in the party on the issue at all. “All things which are coming (in the press) are absolutely imaginary,” he said.