Indian politician L. K. Advani resigned all his leadership posts in the opposition Bharat Janata Party on Monday, leaving the party in disarray.
Advani's surprise resignation came on the heels of the Hindu nationalist BJP choosing a controversial figure, Narendra Modi, to lead the party to elections in May 2014.
In his resignation letter, Advani wrote:
"For some time I have been finding it difficult to reconcile either with the current functioning of the party, or the direction in which it is going. I no longer have the feeling that this is the same idealistic party created by Dr. Mookerji, Pandit Deendayalji, Nanaji and Vajpayeeji, whose sole concern was the country, and its people. Most leaders of ours are now concerned just with their personal agendas."
Advani, 85, is considered one of the founding members of the BJP and a patriarch of the party. Indian media reports suggest Advani's resignation was in response to Modi being elevated as the election campaign committee chief.
Modi, the chief minister of the state of Gujarat, has been criticized for his handling of the bloody sectarian riots in 2002. However, his supporters have credited him with the economic progress seen in Gujarat, which has outpaced the rest of the country.
Some within the BJP fear that Modi is too polarizing a figure to lead a national election, and party leaders reportedly rushed to Advani's house to change his mind. The BJP's president Rajnath Singh said he did not accept Advani's resignation letter.
Modi would be leading the BJP against India's governing party, Congress, currently led by Sonia Gandhi. Her son, Rahul, is seen by political analysts as the frontrunner for a prime ministerial role, though he has denied having such ambitions.