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Are Advani, Achuthanandan riding the same boat?

Are Advani, Achuthanandan riding the same boat?

Thiruvananthapuram: Despite belonging to opposing ideologies, BJP patriarch L K Advani and V S Achuthanandan of the CPI-M seem to be riding in the same boat now.

Both the Communist Party of India-Marxist veteran, now 91, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart, aged 87, are founding members of their parties. Achuthanandan was among the 32 leaders who walked out of a Communist Party of India meet to form the CPI-M in 1964.

Advani along with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee founded the present-day BJP in 1980 -- after having been together in its earlier avatar, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.

Last month, Achuthanandan had a torrid time in the
CPI-M's state party conference. He stormed out as speaker after speaker denounced him for "anti-party activities".

Despite passionate pleas from CPI-M leaders, the veteran leader refused to return, only to complicate and make matters worse for him.

Advani, a three-time BJP president, created no such drama at the two-day national executive of the party that ended in Bengaluru on Saturday.

But by not speaking even a word, he set many tongues wagging. It was the first national executive where Advani did not deliver any address.

In 2013, Advani did not attend the national executive in Goa after Narendra Modi, then the Gujarat chief minister, was named the chief of the party's election campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

As the two appear not so pleased with the kind of treatment being meted out to them at present, the CPI-M and the BJP seem to be playing their cards quite carefully.

While the BJP still describes Advani as their 'margdarshak' (guide), the CPI-M refers to Achuthanandan as their "senior leader".

All eyes are now on the upcoming CPI-M congress at Visakhapatnam next week, especially after outgoing party general secretary Prakash Karat has invited Achuthanandan to attend it.

News is that Achuthanandan is expected to participate. Will he also keep mum a la Advani in Bengaluru?

Achuthanandan occupied the most important post of chief minister in his state, Kerala, from 2006 to 2011.

In contrast, while Advani became deputy prime minister when Vajpayee was prime minister, he was tripped by Modi -- and circumstances -- to the country's top post.

But despite his popularity in Kerala, Achuthanandan - who has studied only up to Class 7 and who is at home only in Malayalam - has never enjoyed national stature.

For years, the suave Advani - a law graduate who is at home both in English and Hindi - was the face of the rising BJP in the 1980s, the star who popularised the party all over the country.

(The views expressed are personal)

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