On a day his pre-eminence in the BJP took a decisive blow,an unwell L K Advani penned a blog entry which had references to a wounded Bhishma Pitamaha and warrior Arjuna from the Mahabharata,as well as to historical figures such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Isolated within his party,Advani spent the day of Narendra Modis anointment confined to his 30,Prithviraj Road,residence in Delhi. However,having made his reservations apparent,Advani appeared to be letting his allegories and metaphors speak for themselves.
Advani and Modi though did have a brief conversation after the latter was made chairman of the BJP election campaign panel for the 2014 polls. According to the Gujarat Chief Minister,Advani gave him his blessings. In the evening,the BJP veteran addressed an event in Jaipur organised by the Pandit Sriram Dave Smriti through video-conference.
In his blog,Advani talked about Kamal Haasans movie Vishwaroopam and a meeting with the actor at his residence last week. As a preface,he talked about a sandalwood carving of Lord Krishnas Vishwaroop avatar at his house,which has scenes from the Mahabharata like Draupadis cheerharan (disrobing) and that of Bhishma Pitamah on his bed of arrows.
Having taken on a partriarchal role within the BJP,Advani could be forgiven for fancying himself in the same role as Bhishma,and finding himself sidelined.
In the blog,Advani went on to recount an anecdote about Hitler and Mussolini the former dictators of Germany and Italy which he told Kamal Haasan when they met.
The story is about a meeting Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini had during the Second World War,in which Hitler tells the Italian supremo that the sins committed by the two of them would prove very costly for them after death. When Mussolini said to his friend that so far as he was concerned,when his own end came,he would go to the Vatican and seek help from the Pope who was believed to have a pass for Heaven,Hitler asked him to recommend to the Pope his name also, Advani wrote,adding that the story ends up with both the Fascist leaders landing in Hell,and only the Pope reaching Heaven.
Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed was quick to react to this. Advani hints in his blog that you have to pay for your sins in your lifetime itself. Is he repenting his role to save Modi in 2002? he tweeted.
While Advani did not break his silence,BJP leader Yashwant Sinha did. In a statement after the appointment of Modi,he said Advani is not only the seniormost but also the most respected leader of our party. He is fully entitled to his views,fully entitled to his respect and his dignity,Sinha added. He also described the protest outside Advanis residence on Saturday as utterly condemnable.
Having skipped the Goa conclave like Advani,Sinha questioned being projected as anti-Modi and pro-Advani in the past three days. I was one of the earliest in the BJP to speak in favour of Narendra Modi. The reason was that the cadres wanted it,the people wanted it. He has no match in the Congress party or elsewhere, he said.
Sinha also sought to clear the air on his earlier comments that if Advani was available as a prime ministerial candidate,the leadership debate should end. In India,our culture,our traditions and our values teach us to have and show the highest respect and regard for our elders. We do that every day in our families and deride those who do not do so in their families. It was this feeling in my mind,it was this tradition in our society which prompted me to tell a mediaperson that if Advani made himself available,if the Parliamentary Board of the party decided in his favour and if the NDA was on board,then the discussion on the leadership issue should end, he said. According to him,this was construed by a section of the media to mean that I had changed my position and that instead of Modi I was backing Advani.
He said he had neither met nor spoken to Advani since the Parliament session ended and insisted that the reason for him skipping the National Executive in Goa was personal and not political.
Sinha also criticised the BJP leadership for allowing the media to “dictate our agenda and influence our policies. In the latest round,the media has forced us into the quicksand of an imagined clash of personalities,thereby completely giving a go-by to the issues of the day. Politics must be based on issues,not personalities,specially today when we have so many issues to raise against the government of the day. The media has ensured that issues get submerged in the so-called clash of personalities in the BJP,” he said.