The BJP’s Uma Bharti, who has been forced to offer multiple clarifications after saying Narendra Modi is not a good orator, now says she had made the same observation about party patriarch LK Advani.
“I had earlier also said that Advaniji is not a good orator. It should not be taken in a negative way. It was an assessment. My comment on Modi has been distorted by the media,” she said in Jhansi, the constituency in Uttar Pradesh from where she is contesting the general election.
What she meant as a correction could bring more trouble for the firebrand leader, who has spent two days defending these comments she made on Monday: “Vajpayeeji was a good orator. People say that there has been no orator like him in Indian politics. If you have paid attention then you would know that Modi is not a good orator. People go to his rallies not to listen to his speech but to tell him that they want him to change this country and that they stand by him.”
On Tuesday, she issued a statement saying she had not criticised the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate; she had been quoted out of context as part of a “conspiracy to portray that BJP leaders have differences.”
Atal Bihari Vajpayee is the only BJP leader to have held the post of Prime Minister. Mr Advani was his deputy for four years, but could not make it to the top post after his party lost the 2004 and 2009 elections. Opinion polls give Mr Modi a good chance at making it to the top post this time.
Mr Vajpayee is renowned for his oratory, both in Parliament and outside. In 2011, Mr Advani had said that he suffered from an inferiority complex due to the oratorical skills of Mr Vajpayee.
“I had told Atal Bihari Vajpayee in early 1970s that I have developed an inferiority complex due to your speeches,” he admitted.