Cutting across party lines politicians have taken potshots at the BJP for sidelining veteran leader LK Advani.
The debate over Advani and his role in the BJP was triggered after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said Advani should remain in politics and benefit everyone with his goodwill.
Advani had disagreed to several decisions taken by his party, including the timing of announcing Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi, as the party’s prime ministerial candidate.
In response to Bhagwat’s remark, Janata Dal (United) leader Shivanad Tiwari said: “Advani is occupying a strange place in the party. On the one hand, he is loved and respected, and on the other, he is being humiliated and rejected.”
Earlier in June, Advani had resigned from top positions in the BJP, a day after selection of Modi to head election campaign.
Following this, senior leaders moved quickly to appease Advani and encouraged him to think again, including Modi and Bhagwat.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar, said: “The way RSS interferes in the working of the BJP, it shows that the actual power lies in the hands of the RSS. No matter what the BJP’s leadership has to say, all work is carried out according to the discretion of RSS.
As per local media reports, despite his age, Advani, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate in 2009, wanted another run at the top job.
Advani is himself a controversial figure. He led a campaign for the construction of a Hindu temple on the site of a mosque in Ayodhya. The campaign culminated in the razing down of the mosque in 1992, triggering nationwide riots in which more than 3,000 died.
Advani, 85, was widely seen as the biggest internal obstacle to Modi's ambition to become prime minister if the BJP were to win the polls. Indian media often say that Narendra Modi is backed by RSS and was thus anointed as the prime ministerial candidate.