Debating India


Rajnath’s yatra begins at Atal doorstep

Thursday 6 April 2006, by KAUSHAL*Pradeep

Rajnath’s yatra begins at Atal doorstep

PURI, April 5: A day before launching a crucial political journey, BJP president Rajnath Singh spent his day today invoking mortals and Gods alike for success.

He went door-to-door, seeking blessings of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and former party chief L K Advani in New Delhi and then of Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar later before wrapping up the day with a visit to the Lord Jagannath temple here.

Vajpayee’s blessings - which came with vermillion on his and Advani’s foreheads - in the forenoon was a strategic breakthrough, intended to end speculation on his concurrence to their yatras. A desperate Venkaiah Naidu wanted clearer word from the party patriarch. ??Atalji, would you join the yatras?’’ True to his style, Vajapyee looked towards the vermilion marks on their foreheads and said: ??Is there still a need for saying something?’’ Moments later, both yatris left Vajpayee’s Krishna Menon Marg residence.

Singh told The Indian Express that Vajpayee was likely to address at least one public meeting each with him and Advani on the routes of their yatras. Tentatively, he said, Vajpayee would catch up with Advani at Lucknow, his Lok Sabha constituency, and with him at Varanasi.

At Bhubaneswar, Patnaik, unlike Vajapyee, was unambiguous. ??I will participate in the yatra and address a meeting with the BJP president tomorrow morning,’’ he told the media after Singh called on him at his residence.

There was no trace of the ?rath’ though, the NSG having driven it to Cuttack for bullet-proofing. ??It is being done up at the Aviation Research Centre of RAW, Char Battiah,’’ Singh said.

After sunset, he kept with date with Lord Jagannath. The atmosphere at the ancient temple was charged when Singh, accompanied by BJP cadres, offered prayers. Darshan over, he squatted at the temple backyard surrounded by priests chanting hymns in a chorus to see a flag donated by him being unfurled atop the temple dome.

See online : The Indian Express

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