After opposing Narendra Modi's anointment as Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate, a mellowed L K Advani on Monday praised him for development in Gujarat and hoped that all good tasks undertaken by party governments in states will be rolled out across the country.
"Today, if he (Modi) has been entrusted the responsibility of the country by my party BJP, then all the good tasks undertaken by our governments in various states would be carried out all over the country," Advani told reporters after his first public speech at a rally in Chhattisgarh’s Korba since Modi's anointment.
Advani, who went into a sulk after BJP's central parliamentary board nominated Modi as party's prime ministerial challenger on Friday, said, "Gujarat is the first state in the country where electricity is available in all villages 24 hours a day and the credit for that goes to Narendra Modi."
BJP patriarch's public lauding of Modi comes after he opposed announcement of Modi's name as the BJP prime ministerial candidate before the assembly elections to five states later this year and stayed away from the decision by BJP parliamentary board last Friday.
The BJP stalwart was addressing a gathering after dedicating to the nation a 500 MW power plant of the Hasdeo extension project of Chhattisgarh state power generation company limited.
While speaking of Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the same breath, he praised the Gujarat chief minister for being the first in providing electricity to all villages in his state, a task which has now been accomplished by Chouhan.
"It was Narendra Modi who did this task first of providing electricity to all villages of the state," he said.
Addressing the rally, Advani said, "Shivraj Singh Chouhan took a pledge of providing electricity to every village in the state. He first provided electricity together in three districts. He has now completed this task. If someone who did this task first of all, it was my colleague Narendra Modi."
Advani also lauded Atal Behari Vajpayee for entrusting the task of developing Chhattisgarh when the new state was created under NDA regime and said he did so not to seek victory for himself or for vote-bank politics.
He also appreciated Chief Minister Raman Singh's efforts towards making Chhattisgarh a power surplus state.
"Raman Singh always thinks for his people and the youth. I thank him and his cabinet colleagues for making Chhattisgarh a power surplus state," he said.
"I am told that when the government was formed, no party leader was interested in taking charge of energy department. Then Raman Singh said he will take care of it and made such a remarkable development on this front," he said.
After the announcement on Modi, Advani had confined himself to his Delhi residence before making an appearance at the birthday celebrations of eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani Sunday evening.
Though Modi was also present at the function, the cold vibes were all too apparent. Modi bent down before the BJP veteran in a gesture of respect and the two exchanged pleasantries but hardly talked to each other.
As Advani remonstrated while remaining closeted at his residence, there was a virtual parade of BJP bigwigs to mollify the sulking leader.
Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters