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BJP plays down Advani’s praise of Modi

BJP on Monday said it is not surprised at senior leader LK Advani praising party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi whose elevation to the post was opposed by the patriarch.

Advani on Monday praised Modi and his performance in a public meeting at Korba in Chhattisgarh. Advani said Gujarat under Modi is the first state where electricity is provided 24 hours in every village.

‘We are not surprised by Advani praising Modi as we know he likes Modi and was the happiest when the announcement was made,’ BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters when asked about Advani's words.

A sulking Advani had actually kept away from the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting which decided to make Modi the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

He did a volte-face on Monday, a day after his short meeting with Modi at the birthday party of eminent lawyer and Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani. Modi had touched Advani’s feet and sought his blessings.

This was the second meeting between the two after Modi’s anointment as BJP’s PM candidate. Soon after the announcement on 13 September, Modi had visited Advani at his residence and spent 30 minutes with him.

The party is still confused about Advani’s gesture on Monday with some leaders maintaining that though it is too early to predict the senior leader’s moves, he may have softened to some extent after party leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar, Jaswant Singh and others met him and tried to placate Advani requesting him to give up his antipathy towards Modi.

Naqvi hit out at Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for his criticism of BJP using Advani’s sulk as an opportunity.

‘The Bihar chief minister has said BJP left behind its senior most leader and this has shattered opposition unity. We would like to ask JD(U), which always had the convenorship of NDA, why the coalition was reduced from 24 parties to just three under its convenorship,’ he said.

BJP dismissed criticism of Modi, saying ‘earlier people used to say Atal Bihari Vajpayee is good but BJP is bad. Now they say BJP is good but Modi is bad.’
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