Advani relents to RSS pressure

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Catapulting to pressure from the RSS, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, who had raised a banner of revolt against the party leadership for anointing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the party’s national election campaign chief, withdrew his resignation from the three party posts.

In a move that stunned the party, Mr. Advani on Monday had dashed off a letter to the party president Rajnath Singh. In the terse letter, he had bemoaned about the drift in the party and its state of functioning which has compelled him to take such a drastic step. Mr. Advani had left no scope for any reconciliation forcing him to swallow his pride and take back his resignation without gaining anything in return. It was followed by hectic negotiations between senior BJP leaders and the RSS leaders in Nagpur. Ultimately, the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat picked up the phone and asked Mr. Advani to reconcile to the changed situation in BJP. Around 6 p.m. a bevy of party leaders, including the BJP president gathered at the residence of Mr. Advani. Mr. Singh read out a prepared statement.


It read: “The BJP Parliamentary Board yesterday [Monday] decided not to accept Shri L.K. Advani’s resignation from the three main fora of the Party — the National Executive, Parliamentary Board and Election Committee — and requested him to continue to be a member of these three bodies. “On behalf of the Party, Shri Rajnath Singh assured Shri Advani that his concerns about the functioning of the Party would be properly addressed and the President will discuss the modalities of addressing these concerns with Shri Advani.

“Today [Tuesday] afternoon, RSS Sarsanghchalak, Shri Mohan Bhagwat spoke to Shri Advani and asked him to respect the BJP Parliamentary Board decision and continue to guide the Party in national interest. Shri Advani has decided to accept Shri Bhagwat’s advice.” Earlier in the day, Jaswant Singh, who is a close associate of Mr. Advani, also expressed hope that a solution will be found when asked whether Mr. Advani will reconsider his decision to quit. “A solution should be found soon to the questions raised by Advani ji. This is in the interest of the party. This is in the interest of the nation,” Mr. Jaswant Singh said after meeting Mr. Advani here. In Nagpur, former BJP president Nitin Gadkari said the party needs the guidance of a veteran leader like Mr. Advani at this juncture. “We will pray to him to reconsider and I am confident he will take back his resignation,” Mr. Gadkari said. Taking pains to explain that the RSS was not involved in backseat driving and there was no interference from the Sangh in naming Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as head of the party’s campaign committee for 2014 general elections, Mr. Rajnath Singh termed such reports as “unfounded and without any basis.” He said that none of the RSS leaders had given any statement in this regard. The party spokesperson and MP Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday said that RSS had only described the situation arising out of the resignation of Mr. Advani as “unfortunate.” He insisted there was neither any direction nor any interference from the RSS. “We have full hope that the party leaders will be able to resolve this issue and emerge stronger out of this crisis,” he told journalists.

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