M A I N   N E W S

Modi may go
BJP MPs meet tomorrow
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 18
A meeting of the BJP parliamentary board has been convened here on Sunday to discuss the party's debacle in the just-concluded Lok Sabha poll and Gujarat.

The announcement of the meeting comes a day after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, now holidaying in Manali, had insisted that the Gujarat issue would be discussed at the national executive meeting.

Party general secretary Pramod Mahajan, who made a rare appearance at the party's press briefing to make an announcement about the meeting, said, "Party president M. Venkaiah Naidu had decided to convene the meeting of the party's highest policy and decision making body after he held consultations with former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who spoke to Mr Vajpayee in the presence of Mr Jaswant Singh and myself".

Although there is ample indication that the countdown for the removal of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has begun, the 10-member parliamentary board is likely to work out a compromise formula that will be a face saver for both Mr Vajpayee, who insisted on an open debate on Gujarat, and Mr Modi, who still enjoys the support of the Sangh Parivar, which is upset over the linking of Gujarat riots with the party's poor showing in the just-concluded Lok Sabha poll.

Asked whether Mr Modi's removal would be decided at the meeting, Mr Mahajan avoided a direct reply and merely said all aspects of the poll outcome, including Gujarat, would be discussed. “Anybody can raise any issue,” he added.

Asked why a meeting of the board had been convened when there was a scheduled meeting of the national executive, he said, “You cannot discuss any issue threadbare where you have 150 persons. You have to study all aspects and discuss.”

The convening of the unscheduled meeting is being seen in political circle as an attempt to diffuse the crisis that got triggered within the BJP and the Sangh Parivar after Mr Vajpayee blamed the Gujarat violence for the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha poll and insisted on a debate on Gujarat in the national executive.

RSS joint general secretary in charge of BJP Madan Das Devi is expected to meet Mr Vajpayee tomorrow on his return from Manali.

Mr Devi had earlier met Mr Advani and apprised him of the Sangh’s view that it was not averse to Mr Modi’s removal at a later date.



Vajpayee takes blame

Prini (Manali), June 18
After creating a flutter blaming Gujarat riots for the electoral debacle and talking about Chief Minister Narendra Modi's removal, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today owned "maximum responsibility" for the defeat and offered to do "penance".

On the penultimate day of his holiday here, he told reporters: "I take maximum responsibility for the defeat because the elections were fought in my name. I will do penance for it."

He, however, added that the defeat was not for an individual but was a "collective defeat. We have to find the reasons and solutions for it."


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |