On his first visit to here following his elevation as BJP election campaign committee chief, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in a patch up bid, met senior BJP leaders L K Advani and M M Joshi on Tuesday, and paid his respects to ailing ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Coming on the heels of a messy split with Janata Dal (United), Modi’s Delhi visit was not without political significance. The Gujarat CM reached out to senior leaders assuring them that both the party and he would need their guidance to fulfil his new responsibility.
Even as his anointment turned Modi into the face of the BJP ahead of the 2014 election, it also signalled power shift within the party. Advani resigned after Modi’s promotion, though he withdrew it subsequently. The move raised questions of differences within the party. The JD(U) parted ways with the BJP-led NDA saying the era of Atal-Advani was over. The Congress too said party elders were being sidelined.
The Gujarat CM’s marathon meetings on Tuesday were aimed at sending out a message that all was well within the party and he would take everyone along.
Modi spent about 54 minutes with Advani at the latter’s Prithviraj Road residence. Sources said the meeting was cordial and the duo discussed the split with the JD(U). While Advani expressed his anguish at the split, Modi is learnt to have said it may not after all affect the party’s prospects in the coming elections and it was no use keeping allies which were opposed to the party.
Advani had publicly articulated his displeasure over the party functioning through his resignation, after Modi was made the election campaign chief. Sources said Advani told Modi he didn’t resign from party posts because of the Gujarat CM’s elevation. On whether Modi’s visit was aimed to placate Advani, BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said there was no acrimony or complaint.
Modi also met senior party colleague Joshi at the latter’s residence. Joshi had taken kindly to Modi’s confidante Amit Shah being made party incharge of UP.