Not long ago, Narendra Modi could do no wrong for L K Advani

Modi and AdvaniAdvaniís own views about Modi were always effusively positive and even doting at times, which comes across in his memoirs My Country My Life, published in 2008. (Reuters)

But Advani's most articulate backing of Modi is reserved for the weeks and months after the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat, a time when the then number two in the NDA government saved Modi's job as CM, and possibly his political career.

In the chapter 'Communal Violence in Gujarat: Propaganda versus Reality', Advani has a section titled 'Narendra Modi: A victim of vilification campaign' from page 758 to 760.

Here, Advani writes how he is often criticised for "stoutly rejecting" the calls for Modi's resignation as CM after riots and goes on to recall events, his role in defending Modi and explaining the reasons.

"There has been a sustained campaign against him, which is not correct," Advani cites from a May 2002 speech he made in the Rajya Sabha.

"I also resisted proposals for Modi's resignation made inside party forums. I am happy that my confidence in him has been fully vindicated by subsequent developments," Advani goes on to add. "His chief ministership, between 2002-07, was characterised by the fact that there was not a single communal riot in Gujarat, not a single incident of terrorism, and not a single hour of curfew imposed in the state. "Gujarat made spectacular progress in many areas of social and economic progress during this period... But what has given me special satisfaction is that Modi has brought down political and bureaucratic corruption in a way that even his critics have applauded," Advani wrote.

In fact, some of Advani's observations even sound prescient considering the party, and even Modi, have taken a similar line recently.

Talking about the BJP's victory in Gujarat in 2007, Advani wrote: "Modi's re-election has highlighted several lessons which are relevant not only for Gujarat but for the whole country. He has disproved the conventional wisdom that focus on good governance does not make good politics. He has dispelled the notion that elections cannot be won on a development plank."

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