Slamming Gadkari,Advani breaks fragile Mumbai truce

Slamming Gadkari,Advani breaks fragile Mumbai truce

Advani repeated his view expressed last week at the BJP national executive in Mumbai

BJP patriarch L K Advani pulled up party president Nitin Gadkari publicly today,pointing to mistakes committed under his leadership. Advani repeated his view expressed last week at the BJP national executive in Mumbai that despite the UPA government having hit rock bottom,the mood in his party was not upbeat.

The strong criticism of Gadkari’s leadership on Advani’s blog suggested continued unease among senior BJP leaders over the manner in which the party president had allowed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to have his way at the Mumbai meet in exchange for a second term as chief.

Advani’s post came on the day of the BJP’s Bharat Bandh against the petro price hike,diluting somewhat the campaign against the government,and redirecting focus on differences within the party.

“The mood within the party these days is not upbeat. The results in Uttar Pradesh,the manner in which the party welcomed BSP ministers who were removed by Mayawatiji on charges of corruption,the party’s handling of Jharkhand and Karnataka — all these events have undermined the party’s campaign against corruption,” Advani posted.


The target was clearly Gadkari — the prime mover behind the strategy to induct the tainted Babu Singh Kushwaha in UP,and to offer the party’s backing to controversial businessman Anshuman Mishra as an independent candidate for Rajya Sabha in Jharkhand.

Interestingly,in the same blog,Advani lauded the role of Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley in Parliament — leaders in whose selection as leaders of opposition he was instrumental.

There should be no reason to feel satisfied merely because the party is in power in nine states and doing a good job as opposition in Parliament,Advani wrote. There was still need for introspection.

“If people are today angry with the UPA government,they are also disappointed with us. The situation calls for introspection,” he wrote. “…When these days mediapersons attack the UPA government for its string of scams,but at the same time regret that the BJP-led NDA is not rising to the occasion,I as a former pressman myself,feel they are reflecting public opinion correctly.”

This is the same line that Advani took in his valedictory address at the Mumbai executive,expressing doubt over the BJP’s ability to present itself as a viable alternative even when the UPA government was suffering from a policy paralysis and beset with corruption scandals.

Clearly mindful of the reactions his comments would draw,Advani issued a disclaimer in a preface to the post: that it was not unusual to have a different view within the party. The apparently shocked BJP declined to react,saying it had nothing to say on the matter.

In the evening,Gadkari held a meeting with party general secretaries at his residence,but BJP leaders said it was a prescheduled meeting to discuss and assess the impact of the Bharat Bandh.

In the post,Advani highlighted,by way of a tailpiece,a report in yesterday’s papers about 97-year-old A K Hangal returning to the small screen with a new show. This,political observers suggested,could be 83-year-old Advani’s hint at his own unfulfilled ambition to have a go at prime ministership in 2014 or earlier.