Not long ago, Narendra Modi could do no wrong for L K Advani
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For the record, veteran BJP leader L K Advani is never known to have uttered a critical word in public against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. In recent months though, the patriarch's actions have spoken louder than his words.
From staying away from the party's national executive meeting in Goa in June where Modi was named the 2014 poll campaign panel chief, following it up by quitting key party posts, and again going into a sulk earlier this month and not endorsing the decision to name Modi the PM candidate, Advani has all but said it in black and white that Modi is not the right choice. But it was not always like that.
While those tracking the BJP and the two leaders have known for years that they shared a mentor-protégé relationship, Advani's own views about Modi were always effusively positive and even doting at times.
And nowhere does this come across more clearly than in Advani's memoirs My Country My Life, published barely five years back.
Advani describes Modi variously as "fresh and young", "promising young leader" and "capable leader from the younger generation" across the book. In fact, he takes credit for bringing in fresh and young blood into his team of office bearers when he was party chief and names Modi alongside Pramod Mahajan, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and K N Govindacharya.
Recalling the start of his Ayodhya Rath Yatra from Somnath in Gujarat in September 1990 on page 375, Advani writes that he offered prayers at the Somnath temple accompanied by Mahajan and Modi — "another promising young leader of the party who has now become Gujarat's dynamic chief minister".