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Advani era over, hands reins to Sushma Swaraj
New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS):
Published on 19 Dec. 2009 12:38 AM IST
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An era came to an end in Indian politics when veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Friday paved way for the elevation of Sushma Swaraj as the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and assumed charge as the first chairman of the BJP Parliamentary Party. Nitin Gadkari was widely expected to be the next president of the party replacing Rajnath Singh who will step down Saturday. With this the BJP has opted for a generational change in its leadership to meet future political challenges. The parliamentary party earlier unanimously amended its constitution to create the new post of its chairman to enable the transition. While relinquishing his post, Advani asserted that he felt a sense of “relief” and “satisfaction”, but said it was not the end of his active political career. “If they think that I will quit activeness and politics then it is all wrong. I became a rath yatri at 14 when I was just out of high school, and became a swayam sewak... this rath yatra would go on for life,” Advani, 82, said while addressing the parliamentary party meeting here. Advani said: “I am grateful for your (party members) affection and cooperation. In one of the newspapers today (Friday) the headline was ‘Rathyatri to get down today’. They had further written that it would mark the end of an era in Indian politics. It is a big statement. But I think in my life and political career, it is a new chapter.”

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