While greeting former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his 86th birthday, senior BJP leader LK Advani has said that he had some political differences with his long time colleague, particularly on Ayodhya movement and the removal of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi after the Godhra riots.
“He (Vajpayee) had reservations about the BJP getting directly associated with the Ayodha movement. But he accepted the collective decision of the party – showing that he was a thorough democrat, by conviction and temperament,” Advani said in an article on Vajpayee, who turned 86 on Friday.
Needless to add, BJP, especially Advani, had taken sharp exception to Liberhan Commission Report over Vajpayee’s indictment.
About the other instance of disagreement between them, Advani said that it was regarding removal of Modi after the riots in Gujarat that followed the Godhra train incident.
“Atalji was among those in the party who thought that Modi should be asked to quit. I was convinced, after talking to a large number of people in Gujarat, that Modi was being unfairly targeted. He was in my opinion more sinned against than sinning,” Advani said.
Nonetheless, Advani admired Vajpayee as a man who “would never go ahead with an idea if he knew that I had a different view on the same”.
After Gujarat riots, Vajpayee had reportedly told his party colleagues that as the chief minister, Modi didn’t do enough to control the blood bath.
In an article written for a National Daily, Advani said that Vajpayee’s oratorial skills gave him a complex which he suffered for several years.
“Atalji, in fact, developed within me a complex which stuck on for many years – that I cannot deliver a public speech, although I may be able to draft resolutions and write article – a complex that made me resist the offer to become the party president in 1972,” Advani said.