Millennium Post

What Advani really blogged

Not surprisingly, the recent comments of L K Advani, the former deputy prime minister of India and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, on his blog have aroused controversy. The statement that has caught media attention is: ‘A non-Congress, non-BJP prime minister heading a government supported by one of these two principle political parties is, however, possible.’ Advani is a seasoned political campaigner, and was his party’s prime ministerial candidate in the last Lok Sabha election. His comments, therefore, as an acute, though not disinterested, political observer, are taken seriously by the followers of his party as also by those whose principles he opposes. Thus, both camps have reacted to his statement, one with disillusionment, with the other taking it as a concession of defeat. Perhaps both have over-reacted as it appears that the comment in question has been taken out of context and excessively highlighted. A look at Advani’s blog entry shows a succinct analysis of the prospects post the 2014 Lok Sabha poll, done in several paragraphs. Advani was speculating on various possibilities that could emerge and a scenario is that of a prime minister from a third party/front supported by one of the two principle parties. He categorically rules out any government to be formed not having the support either of the Congress or of the BJP, that is to say, a Third Front government, which is the hope of some and the fear of others. He also goes on to say that experience has shown that governments headed by non-Congress and non-BJP prime ministers did not last long. Thus, he does not expect the kind of government mentioned in his controversial statement, to last long.

Advani has also written that it would not at all be surprising if the next Lok Sabha election yields a result which for the Congress may prove the worst in its history since 1952 and that all recent public opinion surveys clearly revealed that the principle beneficiary of the Congress’ fast eroding reputation continued to be the BJP. Thus, to be fair to Advani, he cannot really be charged with of defeatism. Pragmatic politician that he is, he may have been suggesting, far more to his party that to others, that there was a possibility of forming a government after the next election with the support of the BJP but not necessarily with a BJP leader heading it. His remarks have come in the recent context of some projecting Narendra Modi as a BJP prime ministerial candidate. Whether they were meant to convey any particular message to his party is something only he can clarify.
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