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In an apparent snub to Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today continued with its efforts to placate LK Advani, who was sulking over party's decision to field him from Gandhinagar despite his wish to contest from a 'friendlier' Bhopal, which is ruled by Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Giving in to pressure, BJP left it to its patriarch L K Advani to choose his constituency, ending a 24-hour drama that exposed the simmering tensions between him and Narendra Modi.
With a sulking L K Advani insisting on contesting from Bhopal instead of Gandhinagar, from where he had won five times, BJP president Rajnath Singh said the party "will respect the opinion" of the 86-year-old leader with regard to his choice of constituency for contesting the Lok Sabha elections.
"I have consulted the members of the Parliamentary Board and the Central Election Committee of the Party on this issue telephonically since most of the members are traveling in various parts of the country.
"It is the unanimous view of the party that the choice of where to contest from should be left to Shri Advaniji himself," said Singh in a statement issued in the evening as efforts continued during the day to placate L K Advani.
He said he had then spoken to L K Advani and "conveyed the views of all to him in this regard. The party will respect the opinion of Shri Advaniji with regard to his choice of constituency for contesting the election."
Earlier, he broke the news about his decision at a media conference in Chennai when asked about Advani's reluctance to contest from Gandhinagar.
"It is the choice of Advaniji to decide from where he would like to contest... I had left this option to Advaniji as to which is the seat he would like to contest from Ė Gandhinagar or Bhopal," he said.
The Election Committee, headed by Rajnath Singh, yesterday decided to field L K Advani from Gandhinagar, angering him as he had desired to shift from Narendra Modi-ruled Gujarat to Bhopal, a reflection of his unease with the party's Prime Ministerial candidate.