The BJP top brass heaved a sigh of relief as senior party leader L K Advani on Thursday decided to fight the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections from Gandhinagar in Gujarat, the party’s choice for him.
Advani, who had expressed his desire to contest from Bhopal, finally relented after senior BJP leaders, including party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, “emphasised” that the patriarch should stick to his old constituency.
There were hectic parleys in the past 24 hours to persuade Advani to settle for the Gandhinagar constituency, which he had represented five times.
Modi also met Advani and requested him to contest from Gandhinagar and assured all support.
The deadlock was finally broken after senior leaders such as Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley held talks with Advani at his residence on Thursday.
Modi had met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday to discuss the issue and it is learnt that the latter had asked the Gujarat CM to reach out to the miffed leader.
As Advani stuck to his stand on choosing his constituency like other senior leaders such as Modi, Rajnath Singh and Jaitley did, a compromise formula was chalked out. Later, party chief Rajnath Singh issued a statement saying that Advani could choose his seat.
Within 90 minutes, Advani also issued a statement saying, “Rajnath Singh had conveyed to me the desire of the Gujarat unit of the BJP and the decision of the party election committee on Wednesday that I should contest the parliamentary election from Gandhinagar. This morning Modi came to my home and emphasised that the Gujarat people are keen that I represent Gandhinagar seat once again.” “I am deeply touched by the gesture. I had, earlier, said that I would contest from Gandhinagar itself,” he said.
Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman had downplayed the differences within the party saying, “There are no differences. There is nothing. If there are talks, it will be settled internally... peacefully and calmly.”
But the closure to the issue would only come after the BJP decides on the candidates for crucial seats like held by Advani loyalists - Bhopal, Ahmedabad (East) represented by Harin Pathak, and even Barmer from where former finance minister Jaswant Singh wants to contest.