Did move to isolate Advani on account of age begin in 2009?

Panaji, June 8 (IANS) Did the move in the BJP to isolate party stalwart L.K. Advani on account of his age begin in 2009? The comments of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar at the conclave here remind one of remarks he made four years ago.

Parrikar’s comments Friday, expressing a desire that politicians retire at the age of 65, appear a none-too-subtle reminder of his 2009 analogy likening the (now) 85-year-old Advani to “rancid pickle”.

Speaking to a news channel during the ongoing three-day conclave, Parrikar, 57, said: “Leaders above 65 should introspect if they should retire. Generally, they become vegetable as they age.”

In an interview to a local TV news channel in 2009, Parrikar, who was then in the race for the party president’s post, said that Advani had only a couple of years of active politics left in him.

“Pickle tastes good when it is left to mature for a year. But when you keep it for more than two years, it turns rancid. Advaniji’s period is more or less over. Another couple of years, maybe. But he should be around as a guide or a mentor for party members,” Parrikar had said.

Parrikar’s “retirement age” comment, coupled with his public prescription of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as a “magic wand” the BJP could wield in the Lok Sabha polls of 2014, perhaps set the tone for the key meet, during which a strategy is expected to be in place for the Lok Sabha polls of 2014.

The near-simultaneous isolation of Advani, on whose watch the party met a crushing defeat during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, and the clamour by members of the young brigade in the BJP like Rajeev Rudy, Balbir Punj, Prakash Javdekar and Smriti Irani to anoint Modi the party’s prime ministerial candidate, or at least its campaign committee chief, is bound to have an impact, and is perhaps not sheer coincidence.

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