Channel NewsAsia

BJP's Advani seeks plum post in India's new govt

Days after an overwhelming victory at the elections, India's Bharatiya Janata Party has the monumental task of putting together its cabinet. High on the agenda is finding a suitable post for party veteran and BJP founding father, Lal Krishna Advani.

NEW DELHI: The less-than-warm relations between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Lal Krishna Advani and newly-elected prime minister designate Narendra Modi is no party secret.

In 2013, Mr Advani opposed his one-time protégé Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate.

BJP's resounding election win has now placed his fate in the hands of the man he once resented.

Mr Advani is reportedly keen to be Speaker of the Lower House but given the animosity, senior party leaders have their doubts whether he will be offered the post.

At 86 years old, Mr Advani has spent more than five decades in public life. The octogenarian's long political career has provided opportunities for popular and less successful turns.

Mr Advani is widely credited for taking the party from just two parliamentary seats in 1984 to 182 in 1991. He rose to the position of deputy prime minister in 2002, his highest office, when the BJP was in power.

Though highly respected, many also see him as a divisive and controversial figure.

In 1990, Mr Advani led a campaign to build a temple on the site of a 16th-century mosque in Ayodhya, northern India. It led to some of the country's worst religious violence since India's partition in 1947.

K Vikram Rao, a political analyst, said: "That incident was, I think, essential for the Bharatiya Janata Party to rise in power because (during) the 1984 Indira Gandhi assassination, the Bharatiya Janata Party was wiped out virtually -- only two seats, both from Andhra.

"So from two seats in Lok Sabha to 100-plus is the singular achievement of Advani, though the means may not have been very pure -- in the sense, he certainly took an anti-Muslim posture."

Now the big question is whether the BJP patriarch will get a position befitting his standing in the Modi-led government.

Prakash Javadekar, a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said: "Shri Advaniji is really a father figure for BJP and he is our guide and ideologue. He contested elections, won resoundingly with a huge margin.

"The truth is that... though ministry formation is a PM's prerogative, (we are) all consulted and then only decisions are made."

At 86, Mr Advani -- who could not rise to become the Prime Minister of India in the 2009 elections -- has conquered age with his agility, memory and unflinching eagerness for a productive, political position. What he has to secure now is a role worthy of his stature.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna