New Delhi, Sept. 17: L.K. Advani’s praise of Narendra Modi at a Chhattisgarh public event yesterday followed an “advice” from chief minister Raman Singh.
Advani — who remained opposed to Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate till the last — surprised everyone when he praised the Gujarat chief minister for “work done in his state”.
Raman Singh, a low-key politician, is reported to have told Advani that his “information” was that unless Advani endorsed Modi and said a few good words about him, the veteran risked facing the wrath of party workers and the public. “Raman Singh feared anti-Advani slogans,” a source said.
Advani and Singh had a 40-minute one-on-one meeting yesterday at Raipur airport before leaving for the venue in Korba.
Initially, Advani and the Chattisgarh chief minister were to fly out in a state plane with other ministers. But the ministers were told to board a helicopter, after which Advani and Singh held talks.
Advani’s next port of call is Bhopal where he is slated to speak at a workers’ meeting along with Modi and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on September 25.
Though billed as a workers’ convention, state BJP sources claimed it would enlarge into a “mega spectacle” like the Jaipur gathering on September 10 that was initially meant only for party activists.
Madhya Pradesh BJP sources said after the “spectacular” turnouts in Jaipur and Haryana’s Rewari (on September 15), they were determined to prove their “credentials” by ensuring a “far bigger” show for Modi in Bhopal.
Modi is rounding off his September public appearances with a meeting in Tiruchi (Tamil Nadu) on September 26 and another in Delhi on September 29.
Delhi BJP sources said from September 18, they would start their mobilisation with prabhat pheris (dawn rounds) that will see the MPs, MLAs and office-bearers knocking on people’s doors each morning and urging them to come for Modi’s meetings.
Advani is learnt to be keen to come for this one as well. But Delhi leaders said so far only Modi and former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, the party’s minder ahead of state polls this winter, are billed to speak.