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Rewind 2005: Advani and Vajpayee at a rally in Mumbai   

How Vajpayee-Advani Jugalbandi Created A Saffron Wave

In Pakistan it is said history begins at midnight 14 August 1947. Vinay Sitapati’s book Jugalbandi: The BJP Before Modi suggests a similar trajectory for the ruling party’s amnesia today for anything that came before; however a long time ago In a polity far away there was Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani, a world away from today’s ruling jugalbandi. The word itself suggests an equal music but it is rarely so. From distinctly diverse backgrounds: Advani fluent in English, Vajpayee a poet in his native tongue. Organiser and Orator. Unique skill sets that created their own niches in the party. The book dutifully chronicles their early encounters with each other as RSS workers and Advani’s unwitting part in derailing Atalji’s bete noire Balraj Madhok. Vajpayee the first time MP and Advani his dutiful backroom boy to how they matured into a champion duo with one leading and the other happy in a subservient part by turns. Alas while the friendship endures Advani is not a part of Vajpayee’s Camelot which slowly takes shape after his move to Delhi and his reconnecting with Rajkumari Kaul his college sweetheart.  The lady’s influence cannot be discounted; She provides him with conversation, confidence and a convivial environment for his meetings and confabulations. Advani is conspicuously absent from these now dominated by  Brajesh Mishra and Ranjan Bhattacharya, the Kaul’s son in law and husband of Vajpayee’s pet adopted daughter. Advani’s sunset years have been less painless, his standing in the party he nurtured itself in doubt. In the end the epitaph from Amit Shah was “They were afraid to fly the flag of Hindutva fully”.