Gandhinagar: Accompanied by Narendra Modi, veteran BJP leader L K Advani today filed his nomination from Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, putting up a show of unity after months of apparent frost in ties between the two.
Modi himself handed over the papers to the Returning Officer of Gandhinagar, a seat Advani was virtually forced to accept over Bhopal, which was said to be his first choice.
86-year-old Advani, seeking his seventh term in Lok Sabha, was accompanied by Modi, Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel and his aide Deepak Chopra who suggested that Modi hand over the papers. Modi first urged Advani to give the papers but later relented.
Before the filing of nomination, Modi addressed a public meeting where he exhorted party workers to ensure victory of Advani with a “huge” margin and recalled the “illustrious” political career of the party patriarch. Advani too praised Modi, calling him an able administrator. “I will not call Narendra bhai my protege, but I have never seen a more brilliant and efficient events manager than him. “And this event management capacity he had brought to governance also. That has made him more suitable for the assignment, the party has given to him.”
He said Modi has proved a remarkable leader, not just of the BJP but even when he was an RSS pracharak. Advani, however, said Modi should not be compared with Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “I would not compare, certainly not to Atal ji. Atal ji was a class by himself. The main ideologue of the party was Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and the person to implement it in governance was Atal ji,” he said.
Advani also denied that he was not keen on contesting from his traditional Lok Sabha seat of Gandhinagar and recalled his long association with Gujarat.
Our friends from Madhya Pradesh wanted me to contest from Bhopal also. But I have never intended not contesting from Gandhinagar,” Advani said, denying there was any row over his choice of constituency. There were reports that the former Deputy PM had expressed desire to shift his constituency from Gandhinagar to Bhopal. But the RSS and senior leaders intervened to virtually force’ him to contest from the Gujarat capital.
He said contesting from Gandhinagar is “absolutely rejoicing” and traced his decades-old association with the state. “After all my relations with Gandhinagar and with Gujarat did not start with my contesting from here. They started with unfortunate incident that accompanied India’s independence,” Advani said, referring to the partition after which he and his family moved to India from Pakistan.
“My father stepped in Adipur (a Kutch township where Advani and his family moved after the Partition) for a brief while. He then moved to Kashi (Banaras or modern-day Varanasi), where my grandmother wanted to spend her last days. “He was there for 3-4 four years and then shifted to Adipur. This is the background of my and my family’s association with Gujarat,” he said.