Advani Wants to Retire, Worries Mount for Karat, Lalu, Paswan

Statisticians are brutal, especially when it comes to lion-hearted efforts that fail to cut the grade, focusing on the victors they simply lap up on mechanical data with irreverence and, perhaps, even contempt towards the graceful also-rans – this poll season is no exception.

With psephological scales loaded in favour of the Congress, the towering win notched by the grand-old-party is certain to cast a long shadow over several political careers, some of which may crawl back into limelight after time in the loop-line. But others may just use the moment to read the writing on the wall and bid adieu to politics.

The first to express an inclination for the door was none other than BJP stalwart and until a few hours ago the NDA prime ministerial hopeful, LK Advani, who asked party leaders to select a suitable replacement to head the BJP Parliamentary Party and perhaps to also lead the Opposition in the lower house.

That Advani sought the office at 7-Race Course Road as the highpoint of his long political career was no secret, and his decision to call it quits may be attributed to the BJP’s refusal to fall behind him in face of a blistering campaign launched against him by the Congress.

While the Congress campaigners grilled and lampooned Advani on several counts including Kandahar, the second line leadership in the saffron party triggered a debate over the party prime ministerial candidate in 2014.

Not surprisingly, the debate over a future prime minister in the midst of an ongoing election did not go down well with the electorate and may have been one of the many reasons that led the BJP to yet another poll reversal.

Since the formation of the BJP, the Advani – Atal Bihari Vajpayee combination had ensured that the party was adequately and vociferously represented both in dusty electoral grounds and the philosophical corridors.

While the Vajpayee appeal swayed the classes it was Advani, who ensured that BJP campaigns kept poll registers beeping in welcome of the largest ever non-Congress operation on the political firmament.

Despite being the major vote-puller for the BJP, Advani had to pass up the opportunity to become prime minister on at least two occasions, and he did so with grace that reflected the moral fiber the leader was built with.

Though, his arrival on the political centre-stage coincided with the Ayodhya campaign he lead, Advani later mellowed into a suitable-fit for the prime minister’s office by focusing more on national interest and foreign policy issues.

Even if, his detractors say otherwise, Advani may well have realized his lifelong aspiration if he could have found a deputy as staunch as himself in the BJP, but alas… that was not to be.

The sun shone and the hay sold, the bonus of laughter continues to evade Advani as he, perhaps, readies to walk into the sunset with promises to guide the willing to listen as and when the need arises, but of course, in better interests of the party he built with patience, hard work and most of all passion.

For the moment the BJP has not accepted Advani’s expressed intentions to walk away from active politics, but indications suggest that the going may not be equally good for CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat who was the ideological driving force behind the Third Front.

While Advani and Karat, despite the stark difference in personal styles and ideological leanings, belonged to parties with a democratic basis, the toughest job being handed out on this day went to RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, who will have to look hard and wide for a silver lining before attempting to rebuild political operations that revolved around them.

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