LK Advani: India BJP leader refuses to contest Gujarat seat

Gujarat chief minister and BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi, right, and senior party leader Lal Krishna Advani at the party workers' convention in Gandhinagar on Monday Feb 10, 2014. Image copyright AP
Image caption LK Advani (L) shares an uneasy relationship with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP's PM candidate

Veteran Indian politician LK Advani has rejected his party's proposal to contest the upcoming general election from the western state of Gujarat.

The main opposition BJP nominated him from Gandhinagar on Wednesday night.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is the BJP's PM candidate, has met Mr Advani to persuade him to rethink.

Correspondents say the two leaders share an uneasy relationship and Mr Advani is worried that he may not get adequate support from the state party.

He has won several elections from Gandhinagar in the past but media reports say this time he has told senior BJP leaders that he wants to contest the polls from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh state.

Several senior BJP leaders have met him since Wednesday night but they have been unsuccessful in trying to change his mind.

Last year, Mr Advani quit the BJP briefly after Mr Modi was appointed to head its election campaign, saying that the party's current leaders were "now concerned with their personal agendas".

He later withdrew his resignation after pressure from its senior leadership.

Mr Advani, 86, is a founder member of the BJP and a former deputy prime minister.

Although the veteran leader has in recent months endorsed Mr Modi's bid for prime minister in the elections, correspondents say relations between the two remain strained.

Mr Advani himself has long been known to have ambitions to become the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.

Correspondents say his refusal to contest the election from the seat assigned by the BJP has plunged the party into crisis ahead of the elections, which take place in April and May.

Mr Modi is seen as a dynamic and efficient leader who has made Gujarat an economic powerhouse.

But he is also a deeply divisive figure whose reputation was tarnished by anti-Muslim riots which took place in the state in 2002 under his watch.

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