The Telegraph
Monday , February 10 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Not done yet: Advani

New Delhi, Feb. 9: L.K. Advani has returned to “blogsphere” after nearly two months, reaffirming allegiance to the RSS but stirring speculation by saying his political journey “has not yet ended”.

“When I look back at my life of over eight decades… I remind myself that I found my calling in life when, on a tennis court in Hyderabad (Pakistan’s Sindh), I first heard the name of the RSS and became a swayamsevak in 1942. I found meaning when I left home to work as a pracharak (campaigner) of the RSS…” the 87-year-old wrote.

Then came the punchline in the piece, titled “How Association with RSS has given meaning to my life”. “It is a journey that has not yet ended. From the age of fourteen-and-a-half years till now, only one duty had defined the purpose of my life: to serve my Motherland.”

The words might worry Advani’s detractors in the RSS but would cheer his handful of supporters who still hope the Narendra Modi “upsurge” would be contained at some point.

Derisively labelled the “160-club” — naysayers who believe the BJP will get as many Lok Sabha seats — this group hopes that if the tally is way short of the 272 majority mark, others waiting in the wings can have a shot at the top post.

When the Rajya Sabha nominations were being finalised recently, the RSS sounded out Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, roughly his peer, about plans to pick them.

The RSS, which had been considering “pensioning off” Advani before the Lok Sabha polls citing the age yardstick, asked Sushma Swaraj, one of his few loyalists, to speak to the veteran.

But Advani got wind and scotched the RSS plan by announcing he would contest the Lok Sabha polls from Gandhinagar, his old seat.

His counter-manoeuvre forced the BJP to withdraw. The fear was that Modi and others would be seen as “excessively unkind” to a leader who had mentored most of those calling the shots now.

Advani fell out of RSS favour when he praised Mohammed Ali Jinnah during his 2005 Pakistan visit. He never regained its confidence.