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Advani agrees to become Opposition leader

Last updated on: May 18, 2009 20:22 IST

Senior BJP leader L K Advani today acceded to the wishes of the party's parliamentary board and agreed to become the Leader of the Opposition in the new Lok Sabha.

BJP president Rajnath Singh said that Advani agreed to continue as Leader of BJP's parliamentary board.

"Therefore, it is understood that he will also be the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha," he said.

After the party's poll debacle, Advani expressed his desire not to become the Leader of the Opposition. He had asked the Parliamentary Board to choose another leader. 

The Board did not agree to his request, but keeping in view his insistence, the party president was authorised to talk to him to change his decision.

"Since the party felt that it needed the leadership and guidance of Advani, it requested him to agree to be the Leader of the Party in the 15th Lok Sabha," Singh told reporters.

 "When Advani was informed that the party needed his leadership and guidance to rebuild itself to meet the challenges of the future, as it suffered a setback in the Lok Sabha elections, he agreed not to persist with his suggestion," Singh added.

Meanwhile, a senior BJP leader told, "We have realised the basic lesson and that is not to underestimate the opponents. We were carried away by our over-confidence like we did in 2004 and we landed up with mud on our faces. I remember when Sushmaji told Advaniji that the party was not performing as well as it should have, the prime minister in waiting was upset with her comments. Now we know that she was right."

"Another factor which emerged during the poll campaign was that there was no coordination between senior leaders. Instead of putting up a joint face, the leaders ran each other down in private briefings," the leader also said.

Additional Reportage: PTI

Onkar Singh in New Delhi