ATAL Behari Vajpayee may be a formidable orator when critiquing the government, but when he finds himself in a Sitaram Kesri-like predicament he cuts an equally pathetic figure. Just that last agonising bit short of the finishing line, willy-nilly he casts himself in the "old man in a hurry" mould—full of urgency, even a touch of desperation. Which is exactly what happened at the February 2 rally by the BJP and its allies at Delhi's Ambedkar stadium.
"Certain mischievous elements are trying to project the rift between me and (BJP president) Advaniji, that he will be the prime minister immediately after elections," he blurted out. Making the situation curiouser, Advani avoided addressing the rally, but released the party manifesto the following day officially projecting Vajpayee as the party's prime ministerial candidate.