Advani positioning himself as a moderate

March 24th, 2008 - 6:21 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

(News Analysis)

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani’s dramatic visit to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s house is seen as a strategy to position himself as a moderate who can work even with his known political adversaries. Having been virtually anointed as the numero uno in the party, Advani is broadening his role as the leader of main opposition party that also leads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), his associates say.

“He does not want to be seen any longer as a hardcore Hindutva leader. In politics no leader from any political party should be treated as persona non grata. It always pays to have a good relationship with the heads of different parties,” a senior BJP leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

The political leader spoke shortly after Advani and his wife drove down to Gandhi’s residence, for the first time, Saturday to personally hand over a copy of his book, “My Country, My Life”.

Interestingly, the autobiography talks about Gandhi’s foreign origin, and Advani accuses her of “active and irrefutable collusion in covering up the role of Italian Ottavio Quattrocchi in the infamous Bofors scandal”.

“As Advani has already stepped into the shoes of (former prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee for all practical purposes, he needs to enhance his political acceptability across the board. By reaching out to the different leaders, he stands to gain immensely,” the BJP source added.

Advani admirers admit that this is one area he fares poorly vis-

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