Advani's absence from Modi's Yatra sparks controversy

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New Delhi, Sept 11: A fresh controversy has started in BJP and this time it is centred around LK Advani's absence in the Rath Yatra of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in his state. A report published in Anandabazar Patrika said this on Tuesday. Party sources said that the veteran BJP leader had not been formally invited for Modi's Rath Yatra ahead of the state polls.

The BJP has been seriously hit by differences over a consensus prime ministerial candidate for the next general polls. While the Sangh Parivar has backed Modi, the Shiv Sena, an old ally of the BJP in the NDA, has recently expressed its preference for Sushma Swaraj as the potential PM candidate. The latest controversy over Advani's absence from Modi's Rath Yatra reveals that the personality clashes in the BJP refuse to die down.

According to a section in the BJP, the relation between Modi and Advani has deteriorated and even the RSS doesn't want the senior BJP leader to join the Rath Yatra. It is said that Advani praised the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chauhan more in his blog than Modi. The Yatra will feature other leaders like Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley.

The Advani camp, however, refused to buy this theory. It said Advani has led a Rath Yatra at the national stage in the past and there is no need for him to join a state-level Yatra. The relation between the two leaders hasn't worsened as it is being projected, the report said.

Party sources said that Advani was not unhappy with the Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's backing Sushma Swaraj as the PM candidate. On the other hand, Nitish Kumar's JD(U) has openly opposed Modi's candidature as the PM. The NDA ally has not spoken on Sushma's candidature so far, the report said, and has also decided to contest the Gujarat poll alone.

A lot of permutations and combinations are currently underway in the BJP over the candidature for the PM's post and Advani's absence from Modi's Rath Yatra could be another indicator to that.

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