Marginalised BJP veteran L K Advani did not address the Nation Executive meeting, a permanent feature in such meets, reflecting the current power equation in the ruling party.
There was no word from the party on why he did not address the meeting which concluded today but there was speculation that he was not keen on it as he was asked to get the speech vetted due to apprehension in the top rungs that he may strike a jarring note.
Advani, who has seen a gradual marginalisation in the party, was present during the two-day conclave. He had skipped attending the Goa meet in 2013 in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was anointed the campaign committee head.
“Internal decision-making is something we don’t discuss with the media. How we settle the programme of the party, I am sure even in the world of RTI and transparency, we can’t share it with you,” senior party leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on being asked for the reasons behind Advani not addressing the meet.
Playing down the issue during his briefing after the national executive meeting concluded, he said Advani was a senior leader and “he can, anytime he wishes, guide the party in any forum”.
Rejecting various reports over the matter, he said “whatever arrangements we make we all do it together”.
Advani, who is seen as the key architect of the party and pitchforked it to the forefront during the 1990s, has uneasy relations with Modi, whose elevation as the party’s campaign committee head and then its prime ministerial candidate before the Lok Sabha election was opposed by him.
It was due to this reason that he had skipped attending the Goa meet in 2013 in which Modi was anointed the campaign committee head and he tendered his resignation from all party posts in protest. He later withdrew it.
He was also moved out of the all-important Parliamentary Board of the party and put in the largely-ceremonial ‘Margdarshak Mandal’ after the victory in Lok Sabha polls.
Earlier, Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Advani was their senior-most and respected leader and “he is with us and remains the most respected margdarshak (mentor)”.