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On His 90th Birthday, LK Advani Continues to Adapt and Evolve

On Wednesday morning, Advani will have a new bunch of friends to celebrate with. Ninety visually impaired children will have breakfast with the BJP patriarch.

Sumit Pande | News18.com

Updated:November 8, 2017, 7:22 AM IST
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On His 90th Birthday, LK Advani Continues to Adapt and Evolve
File photo of senior BJP leader LK Advani. (Reuters)
New Delhi: The afternoon sun on Tuesday could barely peek out of the thick smog which descended a tad too early over Delhi this winter. Never mind the air, the New Delhi Municipal Council's workers are busy doing their bit and tidying up whatever they can — sweeping and sprinkling lime along the boulevard leading to 30, Prithviraj Road.

There is no official word on who all will visit LK Advani on Wednesday morning. The party patriarch turns 90, joining that rare league of politicians who despite the rough and the tumble of politics remained active in their 90s — both physically and mentally. One can think of a very few in this league — Jyoti Basu, Harkishan Singh Surjeet.

"His has been a remarkable political journey," says a leader closely associated with him.

"Advaniji in his personal life is not overtly demonstrative in religious rituals like many other BJP leaders. But he knew the political idiom to lead the Ram Rath Yatra and bring about a paradigm change in the national polity," he adds.

Advani continues to be a Member of Parliament, representing Gandhinagar in the Lok Sabha. But over the last one year, since the passing away of his wife Kamala, he has been steadily withdrawing from active political life.

Last year, he was mourning and did not celebrate any festival. This year, however, a whiff of a fresh coat of paint hangs about his residence hours before his birthday. No one seems to know who all would drive down to wish the man who was instrumental in the rise of BJP. Not many, including those who shared a long political relationship with him, have done it in the recent years.

"His greatest ability has been to evolve according to changing situation and circumstances," says another leader close to Advani.

So once again, on his 90th birthday, Advani has chosen to move on, to adapt to the reality — in political and personal life. On Wednesday morning, he will have a new bunch of friends to celebrate with. Ninety visually impaired children will have breakfast with Advani.

Twelve years ago, in the middle of Jinnah controversy, he was sidelined. He became lonely in a grand party he had built from scratch. In 2005, on his birthday, another lonely man called him to wish — it was Natwar Singh in the midst of Volker Controversy.

For almost a decade after 2004 shock defeat, Advani strove to survive. In 2014, BJP chose a new leader. Three years later, the party chose Ram Nath Kovind as its pick for the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Advani, with a close group of family and associates, has chosen to adapt and adopt again. He has recently been to the Disneyland in Singapore. This Dev Deepavali, he was in Varanasi to light 90 diyas.

The tenacity of a thoroughbred politician is to accept and evolve.

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| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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