Advani like rancid pickle: Goa BJP leader (Second Lead)September 22nd, 2009 - 8:35 pm ICT by IANS
Panaji/New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) Former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has likened veteran leader L.K. Advani to ageing, rancid pickle, but the party said he was misquoted and misinterpreted.
Advani had only a couple of more years left in active politics, Parrikar, leader of the opposition in the state assembly, told a local news channel in Panaji Monday night. The details of the interview were made known outside Goa Tuesday.
“Pickle tastes good when it is left to mature for a year. But if you keep it for more than two years, it turns rancid… Advani-ji’s period is more or less over. Another couple of years, maybe. But he should be around as a guide or a mentor for the party members,” Parrikar said.
Party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters in New Delhi: “He (Parrikar) has called Advani-ji a respectable leader and a mentor and a guide. He also called Atal-ji (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) and Advani-ji two pillars (of the party).”
“Anything beyond this is a wrong interpretation, the interview was in Konkani language on a local channel and he was misquoted,” Rudy maintained.
Most party leaders but steered clear of the controversy and preferred to keep quiet. There was no word from Advani either.
One leader told IANS before disconnecting his phone: “I have not spoken to you.” Several others feigned ignorance about Parrikar’s comments.
Parrikar also said Advani had been the best leader in the BJP in terms of focus and character. “I have great respect for Advani-ji,” he said.
Calling for a change in guard at the party’s helm, Parrikar, 54, said it would have to project a new youthful face with credibility.
“I am not against elders, but the BJP should give prominence to leaders who are between 40 and 60 years,” he said.
Party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad refused to answer any queries on the interview. “I don’t know anything. I am not supposed to react to everything,” he told IANS and hung up the phone.
While Prakash Javadekar, another BJP spokesperson, said he was busy preparing for the Maharashtra assembly elections, when contacted, party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: “I would not know about this; I was busy with Eid festivities.”
Advani, 81, was the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the April-May Lok Sabha elections. However, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regained power, leaving Advani to face the flak.
Soon after the election results, he announced his decision to step down as leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha but took up the position after a section of the party persuaded him - a move that led to more criticism from his detractors.
Advani, as president of the party, had taken the party’s tally in the Lok Sabha from two in 1984 to 88 in 1989. During the NDA rule, he also rose to become deputy prime minister in the Vajpayee cabinet.
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