LK Advani with Narendra Modi at the event in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. (PTI)
Ahmedabad, Oct. 16: L.K. Advani today said he would be “elated” if Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, suggesting he had moved on since he opposed his former protégé’s elevation as the party’s 2014 mascot.
Modi reciprocated, saying he was “grateful” to the party patriarch.
“I will be elated if Modi becomes the Prime Minister,” Advani said while inaugurating the Institute of Infrastructure, Technology, Research and Management in Maninagar, Modi’s constituency.
“There is an unusual quality in Modi. He always thinks of something new. I am proud that our government in Gujarat and Narendra Modi are drawing praise not just in India but abroad,” the 85-year-old added.
Modi responded, saying: “I am grateful to Advaniji. He has come to bless me and to inaugurate the institute.”
This was the first time the two met in Gujarat since the BJP declared Modi its prime ministerial candidate for 2014. Advani had opposed Modi’s elevation as the BJP’s election campaign committee chief earlier this year. He did not attend the parliamentary board meeting last month that decided to project the Gujarat chief minister as the party’s spearhead.
Today, the two leaders not only inaugurated a scenic garden at the Sabarmati Riverfront, developed by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, but also arrived together in the same car.
Earlier in the day, they attended a meeting of the Somnath temple trust along with the trust’s president, former chief minister Keshubhai Patel.
Last month, Advani had skipped the annual meeting of the trust. His absence was interpreted as another sign of the growing distance between the former deputy Prime Minister and Modi.
On September 25, the two leaders had, along with others, appeared on a public platform in Bhopal. But the relationship was still frosty.
In Maninagar, by contrast, they appeared relaxed.
In a bid to project that all was well between the two, sources said the chief minister had issued instructions that Advani must receive a rousing reception wherever he went today.
Accordingly, they arrived in the same car to inaugurate the garden after attending a closed-door meeting of the temple trust. They then took a golf cart decked with flowers to the riverfront.
Modi said he agreed with Advani that “there will be change in 2014 and the BJP will form the government”.