It was at a lunch hosted by a union minister on a sunny Christmas Day that BJP spokespersons got messages at 1.39 pm that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was going to meet his Pakistani Counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his way from Kabul to Delhi.”This came as a pleasant surprise. We felt the Prime Minister had shown that he could take such out of the box decisions,” said a party leader. The conversation, which had till then revolved around former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee whose place the BJP leaders had visited earlier in the day on his birthday, turned to Modi.”Looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi,” the message conveyed to the party spokespersons from Modi said.Just minutes before that external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj got a call from Modi to tell her that during their telephone conversation, Sharif suggested that he drop in for tea and he had agreed. This was conveyed to BJP spokespersons when Swaraj called them to the ministry at 4 pm. She told spokespersons about the development and said that it was a welcome surprise for all. Swaraj said it was a spontaneous reaction and appreciated it saying there was no need for formality in relations with neighbours, spokespersons said.The Prime Minister’s Lahore visit not only created a sense of euphoria in the party but changed the mood as he stole the headlines, pushing BJP MP Kirti Azad’s suspension over the DDCA row to the backdrop.Party veteran LK Advani, who along with three other senior leaders had met a day after Azad’s suspension, and was critical of the leadership after the Bihar debacle, came out in support of Modi’s initiative. “The efforts initiated by Vajpayee ji, should be taken forward by present leaders like Modi ji and others, regarding the relationship of India and Pakistan…. The friendship between both the nations must get stronger so that both can get rid of the terror outfits which have been created in last few days,” Advani said.The BJP, which has taken a tough ideological position vis–a-vis Pakistan, has been unflinching in its support for Modi’s surprise gesture. A party leader said the Prime Minister was convinced that India cannot be a world power unless it showed flexibility in its approach towards neighbours. SAARC was the “larger circle” through which he could resolve bilateral ties, the leader said.Speaking of the ideological position of the BJP, the leader said even the RSS, the party’s ideological mentor, has accepted the alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir.On Saturday, BJP fielded party spokesperson MJ Akbar to brief the media on Modi’s Lahore stopover. “This gives us all hopes that there will be one happy consequence. And, if all goes well, the Prime Minister will undertake the visit to SAARC Summit next year,” said Akbar.Describing as extraordinary the way the peace process has been revived, he said it gave “another opportunity to write a new chapter in a difficult history. But it cannot be written by one. It requires two authors reading from the same page.”Akbar said the PM had created a “transformative moment in the subcontinent” with
his “courage, vision, skill and imagination” and that the pursuit of peace in the complex region with its history of fraught ties between the two countries required such courage.Dismissing the Congress criticism as “childish”, he said the move was “symptomatic” of the diplomatic thaw in the sub-continent”.However, in an interview released on Saturday, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav reiterated the RSS stand about “akhand Bharat”. The party was evasive on it, with one leader saying there was democracy.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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If all goes well, PM will go to SAARC summit next year: BJP