Afroz Alam Sahil, BeyondHeadlines
Had Advani heard Vajpayee’s demand on the removal of Modi as CM, Modi would not have been at the place where he is standing today and probably Advani would not have been a “PM in waiting”. There was a time when the two senior leaders of BJP, Advani and Vajpayee did not see eye to eye on the issue of Modi’s removal after Gujarat riots that followed the Godhra train incident.
Reportedly, Vajpayee had condemned the Gujarat riots by demanding the removal of Modi as Chief Minister and he believed that Modi had not done enough to control the riot. After this public statement, Vajpayee had become the headline in newspapers. He was isolated within his party for having his stand on Modi. Vajpayee’s uneasiness with Modi was a much discussed topic in the media and politics. Condemning the Gujarat Riots, Vajpayee stated, “The impact of the Gujarat riots was felt nationwide. This was unexpected and hurt us badly. Narendra Modi should have been removed after the incident. But what has happened has happened. Facts cannot be changed.”
VHP too attacked Vajpayee for criticising then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi and it had gone to the extent of demanding changes in leadership and said that both L.K. Advani and Vajpayee had “failed”.
VHP leader vishnu Hari Dalmiya had said on Vajpayee that he had been “contradicted” by his own party on Gujarat comments. BJP’s refusal to speak out against VHP’s remark on the “tallest leader” in the party gave a hint that Vajpayee’s terms were not acceptable in the party on Modi-Gujarat issue.
Arun Shourie, a senior BJP leader had told at that time that according to Advani, Modi’s removal could create an upheaval. BJP leader and former minister Arun Shourie these days run a campaign against Modi and he had said that he made a “mistake” by supporting Narendra Modi to be the Prime Minister.
Today, when BJP is using the demise of Vajpayee for political purpose by organising Asthi Kalash Yatra, it is ironical to remember how Vajpayee’s concern did not matter to Advani. Then BJP launched Atal Yatra where the picture of Atal Bihari Vajpayee was missing. However, his photograph was put on the walls of toilets. Was BJP waiting for this day to give him tribute of this sort?
Advani’s significance in his party can be understood by this photograph…