Panaji, June 11 (IANS) After being the first to pitch for Narendra Modi as the BJP's face for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was Tuesday the last among state party leaders to ask L.K. Advani to withdraw his resignation from all party posts.
Speaking to reporters at the state secretariat at Porvorim, about five km from here, Parrikar said: "Obviously, he (referring to Advani) should withdraw his resignation."
The chief minister was out of reach for the media all through Monday, even as the dramatic developments unfolded over the resignation of the Bharatiya Janata Party's disappointed veteran leader and his bitter comments against the party leadership.
Parrikar now says that Advani is still the top dog in the BJP, and that his importance to the political outfit is immense, which was why his resignations had not been accepted by the party.
On the eve of the three-day BJP convention in Goa, which concluded Sunday (June 9), Parrikar said that because of Modi's administrative capabilities and popularity, the party would benefit by making him the prime ministerial candidate for the next general elections.
"On the basis of public opinion, definitely Modi should be the face of the party. I am not saying he should be declared as the prime ministerial candidate. But he has to be the face of the party," Parrikar told the media persons.
The comments had virtually set the tone for Modi's ascent in the party with a section of the BJP's 'younger' leadership virtually playing cheerleaders to the Gujarat chief minister.
The subsequent developments, which finally led to Modi's appointment as the chairman of the BJP's election management committee, in the face of stiff opposition from Advani and his coterie of leaders, is the core reason for Advani's disenchantment with the party and a trigger for his resignation.
Advani in his resignation submitted to party president Rajnath Singh said: "For some time I have been finding it difficult to reconcile either with the current functioning of the party, or the direction in which it is going." The letter also accuses "most" leaders in the BJP of being peddling personal agendas.
Incidentally, Parrikar in his interactions with the media had also said that leaders after the age of 65 should "review" their health before taking a call on their future in politics -- a possible barb aimed at the veteran leader who at 85 years is one of the party's oldest popularly elected leaders.
"I still stand by that formula. A political person should always take review of his health at 65 years. But I have not said he should retire," Parrikar said.
In 2009, the Goa chief minister had created a flutter by likening the ageing Advani to "rancid pickle".