Debating India


Advani lavishes praise on Modi

Sunday 21 August 2005

Special Correspondent

"Khurana himself wanted to be relieved of party responsibilities"

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HIGH COMMAND SUPPORT: BJP president L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at a public meeting in Ahmadabad on Saturday.

AHMEDABAD: BJP national president L. K. Advani on Saturday praised the performance of the Gujarat Government led by Narendra Modi giving an indication to the party dissidents that he was in no mood to entertain their demand for a change of leadership in the State.

Mr. Advani arrived on a two-day visit, the first since the Jinnah controversy, to a tumultuous reception organised by Mr. Modi’s supporters.

In a brief chat with reporters and later addressing a meeting of party workers in his Gandhinagar constituency, Mr. Advani said he was "very happy" with the performance of the State Government under the leadership of Mr. Modi. He avoided a direct reply to the question of a change of leadership but ruled out the possibility for the time being.

`Gujarat Government doing well’

``The Gujarat Government under Mr. Modi is running well and its performance is being appreciated by one and all, even by critics of the BJP," Mr. Advani told media persons. In an apparent reference to dissidents, he said he saw no reason for anyone to feel unhappy about the performance of the Modi administration.

About the suspension of former Rajasthan Governor Madan Lal Khurana, who had demanded Mr. Modi’s removal, Mr. Advani said Mr. Khurana himself wanted to be relieved of party responsibilities and therefore he had been suspended.

Some of the dissident MLAs, including Gordhan Jhadafiya, who recently spurned Mr. Modi’s offer to join his Cabinet, and Bharat Pandya were present at the function. However, most of the senior dissident leaders were absent.

The workers’ meeting was a late inclusion in Mr. Advani’s itinerary organised by Mr. Modi’s supporters apparently to demonstrate the popularity of the Chief Minister. The party workers shouted pro-Modi slogans and applauded every time his name was mentioned.

Mr. Advani is scheduled to pay a visit to the residence of the dissident leader, Keshubhai Patel. Some dissident leaders may meet the party president on Sunday if Mr. Advani can accommodate them between his official trips to Radhanpur in the border district of Banaskantha and some engagements in Gandhinagar.

See online : The Hindu

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