3:42 pm - Thursday November 12, 2015

Narendra Modi to accompany LK Advani as he files nomination today

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Gandhinagar, Gujarat – Senior BJP leader LK Advani, who courted controversy over the selection of his Lok Sabha seat, will file his nomination from Gandhinagar in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat today, where the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate has planned a grand show of unity.

“Must thank the people of Gujarat and Gandhinagar and the media for the support I received,” Mr Advani said, shortly after arriving in Ahmedabad.

The 86-year-old then headed to the BJP’s new office in Gandhinagar where he is scheduled to address party workers along with Mr Modi. They will then go to the nomination centre; Mr Modi will be one of those who will propose Mr Advani’s name for the Lok Sabha seat that he has been winning for the last 16 years straight.

In the evening, the two will have tea with local leaders and will inaugurate an election office for Mr Advani, before he flies back to Delhi.

Across Gandhinagar, massive hoardings give Mr Advani’s star billing; Mr Modi has designated a comparatively smaller place for himself on the posters. He has also appointed two of his closest aides Amit Shah and Anandiben Patel to oversee Mr Advani’s campaign and road shows.

Political observers say the elaborate arrangements are aimed at signaling not only that winning Gandhinagar is important, but also that all party leaders in Gujarat are on board for Mr Advani’s campaign.

Two weeks ago, Mr Advani’s reluctance to run for Parliament from Gandhinagar was seen as a sign of his continued opposition to the man his party decided to project as its prime ministerial face despite his dissent.

The 86-year-old reportedly wanted to contest from Bhopal in Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Madhya Pradesh and was seen to be worried about the fallout of his opposition to Mr Modi on his chances of winning in Gandhinagar. He finally capitulated, but his short-lived rebellion once again exposed the BJP’s divide within.

Since then, the party has been in damage control mode, attempting to send out the message that its top leaders are not at odds.

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