NEW DELHI: BJP on Monday plunged into a crisis with patriarch LK Advani resigning from all the party posts in protest against the elevation of Narendra Modi as campaign committee chief, a development that stunned the party and left its allies in the NDA in discomfort.
85-year-old Advani, a founder member of the BJP and the tallest leader after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, resigned from all main forums of the party — parliamentary board, national executive and election committee, a day after Modi was anointed BJP’s campaign chief for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
In a strongly-worded resignation letter to party president Rajnath Singh, who announced the appointment of Modi as chairman of the election campaign committee on Sunday in the BJP national executive, Advani rued that the BJP was no longer the “same idealistic party” created by Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Deendayal Upadhyaya, Nanaji Deshmukh and Vajpayee.
Singh rushed to Advani’s residence for a meeting and is understood to have urged him to take back his resignation. Later he tweeted that he has not accepted it.
The dramatic development prompted leaders to rush to Advani’s residence in a bid to pacify him but he showed no signs of relenting. Advani turned down the pleas of senior leaders including Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar to withdraw the resignation, sources said.
The party chief was also in a huddle with leaders including Arun Jaitley on how to tackle the crisis that has exposed the rift in the party wide open.
In the one-page resignation, Advani wrote: “For some time I have been finding it difficult to reconcile either with the current functioning of the party, or the direction in which it is going. Most leaders of ours are now concerned just with their personal agendas.”
Advani had skipped the three-day deliberations of the party in Goa over the weekend citing health reasons. This was the first time Advani had stayed away from the national executive and the office bearers’ meeting prior to it.
Important BJP ally JD(U), already not enthused by Modi’s elevation, received with surprise Advani’s decision and indicated that it will have to review its position in the wake of these developments.
Modi dials Advani
Meanwhile, Narendra Modi, who is at the centre of storm in BJP has tweeted that he spoke to Advani at length after the latter resigned from all party posts. He tweeted: “Had a detailed conversation with Advani ji on phone. Urged him to change his decision. I hope he will not disappoint lakhs of Karyakartas.”