Advani-Modi rift in BJP out in the open
Advani's anti-corruption yatra, which was to begin from Gujarat, will now start from Bihar.
New Delhi: Rift in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come out in the open after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has decided to skip the party's national executive meet beginning in the capital on Friday.
Modi has apparently cited the Navratri festival as the reason behind his decision.
However, sources said that Modi has taken the decision in response to LK Advani's decision to cancel his annual trip to the Somnath temple.
But that's not all, Advani's anti-corruption yatra, which was to begin from Gujarat, will now start from Bihar.
Advani not eyeing Prime Ministership: Gadkari
BJP President Nitin Gadkari, however, on Thursday said that Advani was not eyeing the Prime Ministerial post, indicating that the former Deputy Prime Minister has already made it clear that he is not in the race.
Gadkari held a press conference to share details of Advani's 'yatra' which will be flagged-off by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at Sitabdiara, Bihar, on October 11.
In reply to a question, Gadkari said "this yatra is not for the Prime Minister's post. This yatra is aimed at clean politics and good governance. The party will support this yatra fully and contribute to making it a success."
He insisted Advani had already made his stand clear on the Prime Ministership issue soon after meeting RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat during his recent visit to Nagpur.
"What more can I say? Advani has already said what you want to know.... During his visit to Nagpur, he had informed the press that he came to India from Karachi, joined the Jan Sangh... He has said what the party has given him is more than the Prime Minister's post."
Advani was not present at the press meet.
While Advani's announcement on September 8 that he will take out a yatra had come as a surprise to BJP top brass, his meeting with Bhagwat seems to have allayed apprehensions-albeit temporarily- that he is not aiming for the top post.
After a meeting with the party's national office bearers and state organisation general secretaries, Gadkari said the party has decided to make the yatra a big success and will rally all its strength behind it.
Gadkari said Advani will also visit Gujarat during his yatra, scotching reports that Chief Minister Narendra Modi is opposed to his yatra and so he may skip the state.
Gadkari said the yatra will cover 18 states and two Union Territories. Advani, who is an MP from Gandhinagar, is likely to spend three days in Gujarat.
Interestingly, Somnath and Ayodhya are not part of the current route planned by Advani. Gadkari was evasive when asked whether Advani would visit these two places which were the starting and end points of his controversial Ram Rath yatra.
But Advani will visit Varanasi where the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque controversy still simmers.
Gadkari said the yatra is aimed mainly at increasing awareness among people on "growing corruption" under the present government.
Party leaders said Advani will spend one day in the North-East and try to cover Assam and some of the states there. He will fly to some of the destinations.
Though final details of the yatra will be made public after the two-day meeting of BJP national executive starting from Friday, party leaders said Advani will spend the maximum number of days in party-ruled Madhya Pradesh.
He will fly to Jammu and Kashmir for a day and also visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands. All the four southern states are likely to be covered. Nagpur, where RSS headquarters are located, also forms part of the schedule.
The yatra will culminate in Delhi on November 20 - the eve of the winter session of Parliament - with a rally, Gadkari said.
The BJP President said Advani's "mind was disturbed" after the arrest of the two "whistle-blower" former BJP MPs in the cash-for-vote scam and this became the trigger for him to announce his yatra.
(With additional information from PTI)
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