This Article is From Sep 16, 2013

Reconciled? LK Advani praises Narendra Modi publicly

LK Advani addresses a public rally in Korba, Chhattisgarh

Korba, Chhattisgarh: LK Advani, the BJP's most senior leader had an early birthday gift for Narendra Modi, the party's prime ministerial candidate. Public praise.

"Gujarat has improved a lot in infrastructure and electricity," said Mr Advani, 85, at a rally in BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh, which is due for elections. "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," he said.

With the praise, came a reminder. "Narendra Modi has been given a huge responsibility," said Mr Advani, who was the BJP's candidate for PM in the last general elections, which the party lost.     

This was the veteran's first public appearance since he revolted - publicly and ineffectually - against the BJP's decision to declare Mr Modi its choice for PM three days ago.

On Friday, Mr  Advani had skipped a meeting of the party's parliamentary board -its top decision-makers - which climaxed with the declaration that the Gujarat chief minister, who turns 63 tomorrow, is its front-man for the national election, due by May 2014.

Mr Advani also wrote a letter expressing disappointment to party president Rajnath Singh, who he had earlier warned that making the Modi announcement now would spell "disaster" for the party. (Read LK Advani's letter)

Mr Singh, who has stoutly maintained through all the turbulence that all is well in his party, said today, "Why will Advaniji not praise Modi? He has always been a Modi supporter and appreciated him."

The appreciation was hard to spot on Sunday evening, when Mr Modi and Mr Advani bumped into each other 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. When the host tried to make them sit next to each other, both contrived to get Mr Jethmalani to sit between them instead. (Read: Narendra Modi meets LK Advani at Ram Jethmalani's house)

On Friday, after he was nominated, Mr Modi drove over to meet the upset Mr Advani, who is seen as his political mentor, though the two have fallen apart for some years now.