Senior BJP leader L K Advani and Narendra Modi on Wednesday shared a public platform for the first time after the declaration of the party's prime ministerial candidate but a feeling of warmth was missing as they exchanged greetings.
Advani, who had sulked over the elevation of Modi by BJP Parliamentary Board recently and later appeared to have reconciled to it, presented bouquets to Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
While he was prompt in reciprocating Chouhan touching his feet as a mark of respect, the patriarch gave a cold response when Modi bent to seek his blessings. He merely folded his hands without looking at Modi.
Even as Modi is on a spree addressing rallies across the country, Advani, in his speech, said, "Today if BJP has reached this place in Indian politics it is not because of eloquent speeches but the hard work and penance of party workers. We will not win elections merely on the basis of speeches but on the basis of the work done by us."
He hailed the performance of the erstwhile NDA government at the Centre and BJP governments in various states. He praised the performance of Modi as well as Chouhan and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh.
Advani made a special mention of the presence of BJP's prime ministerial candidate, saying the party has chosen him for the post.
With crowds chanting Modi's name, Advani ended his brief speech.
Earlier too, when party activists sought to bring all the top leaders for a photo-op under a huge garland of flowers, there was a gap between Advani and Modi, who beseeched Rajnath Singh to come in between.
Singh, who spoke after Advani, said, "Modi can become the prime minister of the country and Shivraj Singh Chouhan the chief minister in Madhya Pradesh" only if the worker of BJP at booth level works hard.
Party leader Uma Bharti also sought the blessings of the people "to make Shivraj the chief minister" and "Modi the destiny-maker of the nation".
Tracing the growth of BJP from a party in the opposition to the ruling one at the Centre for six years and having governments in many states, Advani recalled its association with socialst leaders like Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan and Moraji Desai.
Recalling that NDA led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee formed the government at the Centre in coalition with many parties and that BJP formed government in many states as well under a similar arrangement, Advani said that no other party can challenge their performance and track record and took a dig at those who felt that BJP will always remain in the opposition.
"In the forthcoming assembly and Lok Sabha elections, we will win on the basis of the track record of BJP and NDA....No other party can compare with BJP or NDA.
Recalling his address delivered in Raipur a few days back, the BJP patriarch lauded the Chhattisgarh chief minister for bringing power in every village.
"How many states there are, which can claim power in every village? First of all, Modi did it in Gujarat, then Shivraj did in Madhya Pradesh and then the Chhattisgarh governnment under the leadership of Raman Singh did this. There is no other state in the country, where electricity is available 24 hours," Advani said.
Photograph: Courtesy IBNLive