SC does a surgical strike on Advani, Joshi’s presidential ambitions
The observations by Supreme Court on Monday could prove to be a surgical strike on any hopes that senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi might have nursed to be elected the next President of India. It also deals a body blow to Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti’s ambitions, although slim, to be the next Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
Recently, Bharti told a news channel that she was very much an aspirant to be the next chief minister of India’s largest state if BJP were to win in UP. In contrast, Advani and Joshi’s hopes of succeeding Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan rest on their party losing the UP elections. It is a turn of events that is likely to force party strategists to agree to a consensus candidate.
But the Supreme Court on Monday observed that the charges of criminal conspiracy against Advani, Joshi and Bharti in a Babri Masjid demolition case were dropped on a technicality. It suggested joint trial of the accused.
Not that Advani and Joshi were ever going to be the first choice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s nominees for the post of the President of India. There is much ice between them that needs to be broken for that to ever take place.
But Advani’s candidature could have found support from regional parties, and NDA allies as a loss in Uttar Pradesh could weaken the PM. There have been reports in Hindi dailies that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is likely to push for Joshi’s name.