Modi sickness hits Goa beach - Advani stays away on first day, CM backers pin hope on Sangh directive Panjim, June 7: L.K. Advani managed to cast a pall on the opening day of the BJPâ€™s session in Goa where Narendra Modi was expected to be anointed the partyâ€™s spearhead for the next general election. Advani did not show up for todayâ€™s office-bearersâ€™ meeting on the eve of the two-day national executive session because of a â€œstomach upset and weaknessâ€. Late tonight, a source said Advani might skip the entire three-day event. The source said a decision on Advaniâ€™s trip to Goa would be taken tomorrow morning at 10, â€œdepending on medical advice and his condition that does not appear brightâ€. If Advani does skip the full session, it will be the first time he would have kept away from such an event since the BJP was formed in 1980. The expectation here was that Advani, who stepped into patriarchal shoes after ill health kept Atal Bihari Vajpayee from public life, would personally ratify the move to anoint Modi as head of the campaign committee for the approaching general election. Sushma Swaraj, Advaniâ€™s closest political confidant, reportedly stressed to party president Rajnath Singh that he must not announce anything â€œmajorâ€ in the absence of the veteran. She herself made a point by arriving late at the office-bearersâ€™ meeting this afternoon. Advani also ensured that his loyalists Uma Bharti, Jaswant Singh, Shatrughan Sinha and B.C. Khanduri stayed away in â€œsolidarityâ€. An Uttar Pradesh MP, Yogi Adityanath, brought cheer by rooting for Advani for Prime Minister. Other than Sushma and Adityanath, few of these acolytes are political heavy-hitters but they did manage to spoil the mood. â€œThe mood inside was dismal. We canâ€™t believe the Advani-Modi vibes are so bad,â€ a source said. BJP sources said the RSS could be the only catalyst now. The Sangh has decided to â€œblessâ€ Modiâ€™s projection. Sources said Sangh functionaries were â€œclosely watchingâ€ Advaniâ€™s responses. If they concluded it was not â€œworth their whileâ€ indulging Advani, they could â€œdirectâ€ Rajnath to announce Modiâ€™s name as the campaign panel head in the next two days. â€œThe Sangh is not amused,â€ a source said. RSS joint general secretary Suresh Soni had met Rajnath on Thursday. Soni is said to have agreed â€œin principleâ€ to Modiâ€™s anointment. M. Venkaiah Naidu today told journalists that Advani was â€œunwellâ€. A member of Advaniâ€™s family called Rajnath yesterday and said he felt â€œweakâ€ from the Delhi heat and would skip the first dayâ€™s meeting. â€œIt would be untrue to say that Advani is not disturbed with the kind of drum-beating (for Modi as the partyâ€™s candidate for Prime Minister) that is going on,â€ a party source said. â€œRemember, this is a country where (then Congress president) Dev Kant Barooah had said, â€˜India is Indira, Indira is Indiaâ€™ (during the Emergency). Indira was routed in the elections that followed.â€ The source added: â€œIn Ataljiâ€™s case, the process happened naturally and had a flavour that is cherished even today. Drum-beating does not necessarily ensure electoral success.â€ A minority in the BJP believes that Modiâ€™s projection could see either a spurt in seats, or stagnation and even a fall, especially if the Muslims rallied behind the Congress. Advaniâ€™s absence did not deter Modiâ€™s growing band of cheerleaders today. Last evening, the meetingâ€™s host and Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar had started the chorus in favour of his Gujarat counterpartâ€™s elevation. In 2009, Parrikar, short-listed by the Sangh as a candidate for BJP president, had blown his prospects by comparing Advani to â€œpickle gone sourâ€ and advising him to ride into the political sunset. Smriti Irani, Rajya Sabha member and the central BJPâ€™s minder for Goa, has claimed a â€œgroundswell of positive sentimentsâ€ in Modiâ€™s favour. Ironically, Advani was Modiâ€™s prime endorser when the Gujarat chief minister was up against the wall 11 years ago. That too was in Goa and Modiâ€™s continuance as chief minister was opposed by then Prime Minister Vajpayee. On the eve of the April 2002 national executive meeting, BJP ally Telugu Desam had lobbed a bombshell by demanding Modiâ€™s removal in view of the February-March violence against Muslims in Gujarat. Brajesh Mishra, Vajpayeeâ€™s closest aide in the Prime Ministerâ€™s Office, had suggested that Modiâ€™s removal was a given. Modi stayed away from the first dayâ€™s meeting to facilitate â€œfree and frankâ€ discussions. To Vajpayeeâ€™s shock, his closest political confidant, Pramod Mahajan, gave the first shout in Modiâ€™s favour saying he would not quit no matter who wanted him to. The rest of the pack followed. Vajpayee stood isolated. Advani had put up the members to back Modi. Over a decade later, the roles have reversed in Goa. Modi sickness hits Goa beach ******************************************** One cannot help but wonders wassup! Now, Advani is the patriarch of the BJP. If indeed he does not want Modi to be leading the BJP into 2014, he should be bold enough to indicate it openly so that the rank and file gets the message. Not doing that, he is merely giving 'indication' through veiled statements and showing pet peeves. That is hardly a way a leader should act and he called MMS a weak leader! Poor old fuddy duddy has a stomach upset. Little does he realise he is upsetting the BJP's apple cart. Uma Bharati is no aficionado of Advani, but she was rehabilitated back into the BJP with Advani's blessing and so she is caught in a bind. She does not want to oppose him, nor displease Modi. So the best way to avoid taking side is by going through the charade of sickness. Sushma Swaraj is Advani's favourite and she is stellar leader in her own right and has been in central politics for years. She naturally does not want to get sidelined in the PM race. Her displeasure and late show is understandable. Jawant Singh has actually no standing as such, but he is beholden to Advani for his rehabilitation after that fiasco with the book of his and he being most unceremoniously shown the door. Shatrugan Singh it was said was in hospital for genuine reason. All this shenanigans are interesting to watch from the sideline, but it will go seriously wrong for the BJP. That said, it would have been better for the UPA to have celebrated this internal tussle of the BJP with a thundering silence rather than going at it in a cheap, and almost juvenile way, as what Renuka Chaowdhary has done. But then Renuka Chowdhari is more drama and juvenile antics than to be taken seriously. The pot oils over and 2014 will be a real suspense thriller! May the best side win who can amuse the public further!