Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah called on party seniors L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to seek their blessings on Friday, a day after the resounding victory in the Lok Sabha elections.
Advani and Joshi, who had been consigned to a toothless “margdarshak mandal” after Modi’s and Shah’s rise in the BJP, are said to have been upset over being denied tickets to contest the Lok Sabha polls. On Friday, however, the veterans showered praise on Modi and Shah for the party’s “magical” electoral performance.
Shah replaced Advani from the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat and Joshi, who represented Kanpur, was not granted re-nomination. Both leaders, and two other MPs who were not given a ticket, are past the cut-off age of 75 years the BJP has set for poll contestants.
“It is our party’s culture to meet and take the blessings of senior leaders to work more effectively in the future. Both of them did a good job and have achieved a magical victory,” Joshi, 85, told news agency ANI after meeting Modi and Shah.
Advani, 92, had congratulated the two on Thursday itself after the trends showed that Modi would return to power.
“Called on respected Advani Ji. The BJP’s successes today are possible because greats like him spent decades building the party and providing a fresh ideological narrative to the people,” Modi tweeted in the morning along with a picture of the meeting.
After meeting Advani, Modi and Shah drove to Joshi’s residence.
“Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi is a scholar and intellectual par excellence. His contribution towards improving Indian education is remarkable. He has always worked to strengthen the BJP and mentor several Karyakartas, including me. Met him this morning and sought his blessings,” Modi tweeted.
Modi and Shah together reaching out to the old guard was seen as an attempt to send out the message that the duo remained humble after the massive victory and were according respect to seniors.
In the run-up to the elections, Advani had apparently made an indirect attack on the Modi-Shah brand of politics for calling political adversaries “enemies” and “anti-nationals”.
“The essence of Indian democracy is respect for diversity and freedom of expression. Right from its inception, the BJP has never regarded those who disagree with us politically as our ‘enemies’, but as our adversaries,” Advani had said in a written message addressed to the “people of India” and party workers to mark the BJP’s foundation day on April 6.
An unsigned note attributed to Joshi and addressed to the “Dear Voters of Kanpur” had circulated before the polls, informing people that he had been told not to contest the Lok Sabha elections.