New Delhi, Dec 18 : Heralding a generational change in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), veteran leader L.K. Advani is set to relinquish his post as the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha to don the role of party’s mentor.
Party sources said Advani is likely to quit his post as the Leader of Opposition on Friday at the meeting of the BJP parliamentary party.
“An amendment will be made in the party constitution to create a post of chairman of the parliamentary party for him. Advaniji will be the guiding force for the party,” a party leader said, wishing anonymity as the party was yet to make a formal announcement.
Party leader Sushma Swaraj is likely to be Advani’s successor in the Lok Sabha. Another generation-next party leader Arun Jaitely is the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
The process of top-level changes in the party, decided in consultation with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the party’s ideological torchbearer, will be completed with appointment of Maharashtra BJP chief Nitin Gadkari as the next president.
Gadkari’s elevation to the top organisational post in the party is expected to be announced after the party’s parliamentary party meeting Saturday.
The changes in the BJP have come at a time when the the party is beset with several challenges including its decline in Uttar Pradesh where it finished a distant fourth in the last Lok Sabha polls. The defeat in the Lok Sabha polls also led to internal bickering and blame-game in the party.
With youth forming a large section of the country’s population and Congress scion Rahul Gandhi working systematically to bring young voters closer to his party, the BJP has opted to a generational change in its leadership to meet the future political challenges.
Advani, 82, who has scripted the rise of BJP from the mid-eighties, is expected to guide the party in the role of a mentor. He could not realize his ambition of becoming prime minister in the 2009 parliamentary polls.
Born in Karachi, Advani joined RSS in 1942 at the age of 15 and later associated with Bharatiya Jana Sangh (precursor to the BJP). Advani was information and broadcasting minister in the Janata Party government. He became home minister in the National Democratic Allaince government in 1998 and served as deputy prime minister from 1999 and 2004. He represents Gandhinagar in the Lok Sabha.