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Modi to continue as CM
Panel to probe BJP poll debacle
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP President Venkaiah Naidu pose for photographers before the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting in New Delhi on Sunday.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP President Venkaiah Naidu pose for photographers before the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting in New Delhi on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, June 20
The BJP Parliamentary Board which met here today decided not to axe Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi “at this juncture” even as there was speculation in political circle that his days were numbered and the party was trying to buy some time to work out a “face-saving” formula for his exit.

After the three-hour-long meeting of the board, which is the party’s top decision making body, BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu told newspersons that “there is no proposal to change the leadership (in Gujarat) at this juncture.”

Asked whether change of leadership in Gujarat could take place some time later after the three-day BJP national executive meeting in Mumbai beginning on June 22, Mr Naidu was evasive in his reply saying “you will go wrong if you speculate...it can be even months and years.”

While confirming that all issues pertaining to Gujarat, including the leadership change there, were discussed in the meeting, Mr Naidu refused to divulge whether there was division within the Parliamentary Board on the issue of removal of Mr Modi.

Mr Naidu announced that the party had decided to set up a small national committee to do “indepth” analysis on the reasons for the party’s poor performance in the recent Lok Sabha polls, which would submit its report in the “Chintan Baithak” (brainstorming session), which will be held some time during Parliament recess next month.

The members of the committee will be announced in the national executive meeting, Mr Naidu said.

He said in the national executive meeting, all state units would submit its report on the political situation and also the reasons for party’s poor performance in their respective states, which will be debated upon.

Mr Naidu did not rule out the Gujarat leadership issue being discussed at the national executive when he said the executive will certainly discuss political situations in all the states. “Gujarat is also part of India,” he asserted.

Asked about indications given by a senior BJP leader that Mr Modi would be removed in a fortnight, Mr Naidu shot back saying “If he is more senior to me then I leave it to his seniority.”

Besides Mr Naidu, the meeting was attended by Mr Vajpayee, Mr L.K. Advani, Mr Jaswant Singh, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, Mr Pramod Mahajan, Mr Arun Jaitley, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, Mr Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Mr Sanjay Joshi (Special Invitee).

Listing the agenda for the coming national executive meeting, Mr Naidu said a resolution will be adopted on the functioning and style of the new Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre.

Besides, analysing the party’s debacle in the recent Lok Sabha polls, the meeting would also chalk out a strategy for the states which will be going for Assembly polls soon — Maharashtra, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh, he said.

It may be recalled here that the meeting of the Parliamentary Board was called to pre-empt the Gujarat issue from casting shadow on the national executive meeting, especially after Mr Vajpayee had insisted, earlier this week, that Gujarat riots was responsible for poor performance of the party in the recent polls and that there should be an open debate on the Gujarat issue.


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