NEW DELHI: At the launch of three books compiling blogs written by veteran BJP leader LK Advani on Tuesday, RSS chief Mohan Rao Bhagwat seemed to put across the message that BJP may be moving ahead with its new generation leaders (like Narendra Modi) in the context of the 2014 general elections but the party needed the experience and goodwill earned by seniors like Advani for it to sustain and was keen on a show of unity in the flock.
Bhagwat did not mention Modi or the 2014 elections even once during his nuanced and anecdotal speech as chief guest at Tuesday’s function to a packed audience at the FICCI auditorium but took the opportunity to show rare affection for Advani, and even convey that there was something in the veteran that the party still needed to gain from.
Given the backdrop of Advani not agreeing with many party decisions including the timing of declaring Modi as PM candidate, and even reflecting his mood publicly, Bhagwat’s speech seemed to be aimed at ensuring that the party senior remained in the mainstream and put his “political experience and goodwill” to add to the BJP’s efforts.
“Advaniji rajniti mein rahe aur sabko punyawan karey (Advaniji should remain in politics and benefit all with his goodwill),” Bhagwat said. But Bhagwat’s saying that “meaningful happiness is about accepting life the way it is” was seen as the RSS chief making a point to Advani who had only some months ago expressed unhappiness about some party decisions.
Both Bhagwat and leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said Advani’s criticism of the BJP in his blogs should be treated as lessons as they “do no emanate from personal anger but in the interest of the nation or the party.”
Advani, on his part, said he had led a happy life by “listening to one’s heart while doing things, for that makes life worthwhile”. He said he believed that one grows old not by the number of years one has lived but when one stops learning new things”.
While this was interpreted as Advani declaring he is not old enough to retire from the political scene at a time when the next generation of leaders have almost taken over the party’s command, the issue was buried under Bhagwat’s words on Advani and his writings that followed.