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Advani poll credit to CMs minus Modi

New Delhi, Dec. 11: L.K. Advani did not say a word about Narendra Modi when he gave his first response to the BJP’s victories in the state elections.

Asked for comments, the BJP veteran — who has yet to write a blog on the elections and their outcome — said: “It is a contribution of all party members and particularly the chief ministers.”

Advani, usually quick off the block on every issue concerning the BJP and the nation, had not said a word on the BJP’s showing in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi. Otherwise eloquent, his response today was confined to just one line.

The BJP was understated in praising Modi for the electoral successes, despite him being the star canvasser. But even those who were not too comfortable with his emergence and rise conceded privately that in faction-ridden Delhi, the BJP could not have been the single-largest party were it not partially for Modi’s campaign.

In Rajasthan, the chief minister-in-waiting, Vasundhara Raje attributed her success to Modi while her Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh peers, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh, were as laudatory about his role in their states.

The BJP’s reading was Modi had activated their cadres to a degree that was not seen in the past decade or so. “For a political party, that’s 40 or 50 per cent of the job done,” a source said.

When Modi was appointed head of the BJP’s national campaign committee, Advani quit the party posts he held and withdrew his resignation when the Sangh asked him to.

He, Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar tried hard to stall the next step of declaring his prime ministerial candidacy with the argument that the declaration should be made after the state elections because his foregrounding might lead to a “massive” consolidation of Muslim votes around the Congress without achieving a corresponding polarisation of Hindu voters.

The RSS refused to buy the argument and to a large extent, BJP sources said, its position stood “vindicated” after the electoral outcome.

Delhi call

Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung tonight spoke to Harshvardhan, the BJP’s candidate for chief minister of Delhi, for discussions tomorrow on government formation. Harshvardhan, the leader the largest single party, is likely to point out that he does not have the numbers.