File pic: BJP leader LK Advani
Narendra Modi's only possible challenge within the BJP is over. The last man standing against him in the party, LK Advani, is not in the Prime Ministerial race, a senior party leader has said.
"Mr Advani has always said that he is not in the Prime Ministerial race," BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said after meeting Mr Advani today. "He will be active in election campaigns. He will continue to guide the party."
The comment drives home Mr Modi's unchallenged stewardship days after Mr Advani publicly disagreed with the party's decision to name the Gujarat Chief Minister as the PM candidate for 2014, and skipped a top party meet last Friday to endorse the situation, telling the BJP chief that he was "anguished" with his style of working.
But three days later at a rally, his first public appearance after the revolt, the 85-year-old praised Narendra Modi with these words: "Gujarat has improved a lot in infrastructure and electricity. I give this example because Narendra Modi, who my party has appointed as 2014 PM candidate, has done a lot for development in Gujarat state."
Mr Advani, who was the BJP's candidate for PM in the last general elections, also reminded, "Narendra Modi has been given a huge responsibility."
It was a surprising turnaround for the patriarch just a day after the cold vibes that he shared with Mr Modi at senior BJP leader Ram Jethmalani's birthday party. Mr Modi reportedly attempted to touch Mr Advani's feet, but their interaction was awkward and cold.