Advani's blog hits raw note

BJP leader L K Advani

BJP leader L K Advani

Two months ago, BJP patriarch L.K. Advani fired a virtual salvo at his party by putting its current leadership in the dock for the disarray within.

He dropped another bombshell on Sunday predicting that a non-BJP, non-Congress Prime Minister could be at the helm in 2014. Writing in his blog, Advani ruled out the formation of a government led by the Third Front after the 2014 general elections.

At the same time, he added: 'A non- Congress, non-BJP Prime Minister heading a government supported by one of these two principal parties is, however, feasible. This has happened in the past also.'

But the veteran BJP leader's caveat was that 'as the Prime Ministership of Charan Singh, Chandrashekhar, H.D. Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral as also of Vishwanath Pratap Singh has shown, such governments have never lasted long'.

He said the Congress's tally may drop to below 100. Much to the discomfiture of the saffron party, Advani's latest remarks came close on the heels of Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar opposing the projection of his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi as the NDA's PM candidate in the 2014 polls.

Even as the octogenarian's surprising remarks were immediately lapped up by the Congress and other parties, an embarrassed BJP went into damagecontrol mode.

'Advani himself has conceded defeat by saying there is a possibility that there can't be a BJP Prime Minister in 2014. After this blog, how will a BJP candidate win?'

Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said. Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav echoed Advani's assessment.

'There is every possibility that the Congress and BJP will shrink. Regional parties will emerge in every state. The role of the SP would be to unite them and play a crucial role in government formation,' he said in Lucknow.

But downplaying the former home minister's remarks, BJP national vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said there was a strong anti-Congress wave blowing in the country, and the BJP and NDA would get a majority.

Former party president Rajnath Singh said Advani's statement was being misinterpreted.

'Since the Congress wouldn't be able to win more than 100 seats and the people have seen the BJP's able governance during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's rule, they will obviously opt for us,' he told newspersons in Agra.

Key NDA constituent JD-U dissociated itself from Advani's comments.

'We do not agree with his analysis. The elections are still two years away… I am sure the NDA will form the next government,' JD-U president Sharad Yadav said.