Reminding party workers about his Rath Yatra to Ayodhya that propelled the rise of the BJP,veteran leader L K Advani on Saturday said he remains ‘active in politics’ with a ‘dream to make India the greatest nation’.
His assertion that he is still active comes at a time when there is much talk,inside and outside the party,on the rise of Narendra Modi as a possible prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Advani made these remarks while addressing BJP workers on the foundation day of the party at its New Delhi headquarters.
BJP president Rajnath Singh,on the other hand,sought to woo leaders of non-NDA,non-UPA parties such as J Jayalalithaa (AIADMK),Naveen Patnaik (BJD) and Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress) with an eye on the elections.
Advani looked to the past for his future. I am active in politics with a dream to make India the greatest nation. We should not be apologetic about the Ayodhya movement,we should be proud of it, he told party workers.
The BJP,he said,was an outstanding product of a cultural movement and our movement (on Ayodhya) was not political alone but a cultural one as well.
His remarks were seen as an attempt to remind party leaders of the contribution he has made to take the party to its present heights. In his address,he referred to his Swarna Jayanti Yatra of 1997 during the rule of the United Front. In the general elections that followed,the BJP came to power and ruled the country for six years.
While he said he had learnt from all his six yatras,Advani chose to highlight the two yatras that proved lucky for the BJP.
Earlier,addressing party workers before Rajnath and Advani,Delhi unit president Vijay Goel said the BJP would come to power in 2014 under Advanis leadership. We will form the government under Advanijis leadership in 2014, he said. But Goel later tried to clarify that his remarks only denoted respect for a party elder from whom everyone sought guidance. He said he was not competent to decide who should lead the next BJP government.
Leaving it to Advani,who is also the NDA working chairman,to speak on the the struggles and ascendancy of the BJP,Rajnath Singh decided to reach out to parties outside the NDA fold.
I want to assure all chief ministers,including BJP and non-BJP chief ministers,that we are not in favour of undue concentration of power at the Centre. We are not in favour of centralisation of power. We will ensure decentralisation of power to the states in economic decision-making. I want to assure the governments of AIADMK (Jayalalithaa),BJD (Naveen Patnaik) and TMC (Mamata Banerjee) among other non-BJP states about this commitment, he said.
Singh urged BJP leaders not to clamour for party positions and work unitedly against the misgovernance of the Congress. This was clearly an attempt to placate party leaders who could not be accommodated in his team of office-bearers announced a week ago.