NEW DELHI: The BJP has landed in an ‘internal crisis’ just as it was training its guns on the UPA Government. Though BJP’s senior-most leader LK Advani criticised it as ‘media manipulation’, a controversy over alleged rift between him and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi came to the fore during the Jan Chetna Yatra undertaken by the former in November last year. In a wide-ranging conversation with Express, Advani talks about UP elections, his rath yatras and ‘Narendrabhai’.
On Narendra Modi
“Let me narrate an anecdote from my yatra. While the yatra generated good response throughout the country, the biggest draw, however, was Surat, where Narendrabhai worked extremely hard to make the event a great success. The whole 25-km stretch of main road in the city was jampacked. I was astounded and I posed the question of the massive turnout to the people there. In his speech, Narendra referred to how media spins stories out of nothing. There was an empty chair between both of us it so happened that the state BJP president, who was seated between us, stood up to speak and, a picture of an empty chair between us was clicked and used to make stories of so-called distance between both of us.”
On the UP campaign
“Since the state goes to polls in seven phases, I suggested to the state leadership that let there be one day each in all the seven phases - seven days in all. Even otherwise, I wanted to go to Ayodhya and it falls in phase-I of the elections. Hence, I kicked off the campaign from Ayodhya. When asked about Babu Singh Kushwaha induction controversy, he said, “I have said what I had to say at the party forum. I will not say anything to the press.”
On repackaging himself
“The Jan Chetna Yatra was not about myself or repackaging myself. It was about the country, as I repeatedly emphasised. The response to the yatra was uniformly good .What I found a little strange was that while my statements and rallies were carried by the press, the massive response it generated was not widely reported by the media.”