New Delhi: It is the end of an era at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the party's Iron Man LK Advani stepped down as Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
Advani handed over the charge to Sushma Swaraj. But Advani is not retiring from active politics.
For Sushma Swaraj from taking on Sonia Gandhi to threatening to shave off her head as her mark of protest against the Congress President's foreign origins to now being anointed as the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, the wheel has turned a full circle.
"Advaniji has put enormous responsibility on my shoulder. I will try and fulfil all wishes," she said after becoming the Leader of Opposition.
At the parliamentary party meet called on Friday to formalise the decision, there were scenes of unseen unity between the BJP leadership. If anyone had any doubts that Advani was planning to retire from politics, the 83-year-old leader himself set the record straight.
"People say the yaatri (traveller) is going to come off the rath (chariot). It's not true. I will never stop this yaatra (journey)," said Advani.
So from now the troika of Sushma, Arun Jaitley and new BJP President Nitin Gadkari will replace the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-Lal Krishna Advani duo as the power centres of the BJP.
This is a marked change from the past where either Vajpayee or Advani were considered as the last word on all internal matters.
The division of labour principle is something that has been carved out at the behest of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh itself.