BENGALURU — As the Bharatiya Janata Party prepared for its national executive meet on Friday to strategize, it remained uncertain whether party stalwart LK Advani will break the decades-old tradition of addressing members at the meet.
Advani has addressed all national executive meetings of the party, except for the one in Goa when Narendra Modi was announced as the head of the party's campaign committee in the Lok Sabha polls.
"Advani is not willing to speak. We aren’t sure if he will make a speech,” Hindustan Times quoted a senior BJP leader as saying.
Amid day-long speculation yesterday that Advani will skip the meet this year, the veteran politician eventually took an evening flight to Bengaluru, reported HT.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Modi yesterday said the 10 crore BJP members should now be converted into "party workers", reported IANS, quoting a source. Modi also said at the closed-door meeting that the party was supreme and the government was just a tool to achieve the ends.
The national executive meet is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
Evading a direct reply to the question on Advani’s participation, BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain said "the party has the guidance of all senior leaders".
According to party sources, this time Advani, a three-time BJP president, is not keen on addressing the party's national executive meet.
Sources added that organisation secretary of the party Ramlal met Advani in Delhi days before the meet over the issue. But it was not clear if Advani will speak at the forum.
Advani, along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Murli Manohar Joshi, is a part of a 'Margdarshak Mandal', or the party's guiding committee which includes Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh.
The three veterans have already been eased out of BJP's parliamentary board, the highest decision making body of the party. The guiding committee, however, has not held a single meet since being set up last August.
BJP general secretary in charge of Karnataka, Muralidhar Rao, said the meeting will discuss ways to make people aware of the achievements of the NDA Government.
This is the fifth time that the BJP National Executive is being held in Bengaluru. Over 300 delegates are taking part in the event. The birth centenary celebrations of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, a mentor of the party, is also expected to be discussed.
Tight security arrangements have been made in and around the Lalit Ashok Hotel and the National College grounds at Basavanagudi where Prime Minister Modi will address the public.
(With inputs from agencies)