LK Advani has been requested by his party, the BJP, to contest from Gandhinagar in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat again, despite the veteran leader’s reported interest in shifting to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh this time.
Senior party leader Sushma Swaraj has reportedly been asked to convey the decision of the BJP’s election committee to Mr. Advani, who skipped a meeting of the panel in Delhi today as details of his candidacy were being discussed. Ms Swaraj is on her way to Mr. Advani’s residence.
Mr. Advani, 87 and the BJP’s seniormost leader, is a five-term MP from Gandhinagar. But his already strained relationship with Mr. Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, nosedived last year when he staged a protracted and public protest over the party’s decision to elevate Mr. Modi.
In recent speeches, Mr. Advani has denied any strain and has supported Mr. Modi, but he is reportedly worried about how much support he will get from local party workers in Mr. Modi’s Gujarat.
The BJP won a huge mandate in the Madhya Pradesh state elections four months ago. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is seen as someone Mr. Advani is close to and trusts. BJP workers in MP and the sitting MP Kailash Joshi had sought that the top leader contests from state capital Bhopal, where Advani posters sprang up in anticipation.
The Bhopal buzz gained ground after the party kept a decision on its candidate from there open while announcing nominees for other Lok Sabha seats in MP. But on Tuesday, the Gujarat BJP recommended, after a meeting at Mr. Modi’s residence, that Mr. Advani contest from Gandhinagar