Shekhar Gupta in the Indian Express reminds us, once again, on how both Vajpayee and Advani failed to reposition the BJP as a party of the centre-right rather than a party of the Hindu Right:
Vajpayee, the BJP leader most respected by the minorities, tried, but lost his nerve at the most decisive moment, a moment that, if seized, would have placed him among India’s great statesmen for ever, in fact our first real statesman of the Right, or may be the second, if you place Sardar Patel somewhere there. This moment was the killings of Gujarat in 2002 — on the flight to Goa, for the party national executive meeting, when he had to decide on sacking Modi after his “Raj-dharma” speech. But he blinked. In the process, he diminished himself, and his party, and gave its opponents Modi as their second rallying point after Ayodhya
And then came Advani's Jinnah and Gandhi (Varun) moments... Read on: Hindu rate of BJP growth. Do you agree that if Advani had dropped Varun Gandhi as a candidate from Pilbhit, just as the Congress dropped Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, it would, in one stroke, have brought the BJP "closer to the centre, given it wider acceptability, and enhanced [Advani's] stature in a manner that no website or ad-campaign, howsoever brilliant, could ever have done"?