New Delhi, Dec 18 : Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Friday handed over the baton of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha to Sushma Swaraj and assumed charge as the first chairman of the BJP Parliamentary Party.
The Parliamentary Party earlier unanimously amended its constitution to enable the transition.While relinquishing his post, Advani asserted that he felt a sense of ’relief’ and ’satisfaction’, but said it was not the end of his active political career.
’If they think that I will quit activeness and politics then it is all wrong. I became a rath yatri at 14 when I was just out of high school, and became a swayam sewak... this rath yatra would go on for life,’ Advani, 82, said while addressing the parliamentary party meeting here.
Dressed in a black bandh gala suit, Advani said: ’I am grateful for your (party members) affection and cooperation. In one of the newspapers today (Friday) the headline was ’Rathyatri to get down today’. They had further written that it would mark the end of an era in Indian politics. It is a big statement. But I think in my life and political career, it is a new chapter.’
BJP president Rajnath Singh said: ’It is a setback for the party. The party needs the leadership of Advaniji.’ The BJP has opted for a generational change in its leadership to meet the future political challenges.
Arun Jaitley is the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.