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Advani to lead BJP in poll: Vajpayee
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, May 1
In an attempt to put at rest a wave of speculation over a change of leadership in the BJP, sparked off by BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s statement yesterday, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today said the next elections would be fought under Mr L.K. Advani’s leadership.

“Mr Advani will surely be there. The next poll will be fought under his leadership”, Mr Vajpayee said here this afternoon while talking to newspersons after addressing the BJP Mahila Morcha’s national executive meeting.

Mr Vajpayee was asked by the media to clarify on what Mr Naqvi had meant by leadership of the new generation.

“There is nothing extraordinary in Mr Naqvi’s statement. Change of leadership in a party is a common thing. Leadership keeps changing and old leaders make way for the new”, he said.

Mr Vajpayee reached here this morning to attend the national executive meeting of the BJP Mahila Morcha. Addressing the meeting, he said reservation for women would be an important poll agenda in the future. “ The Congress is not talking about it now since its allies are against the Women Reservation Bill but we will fight for the issue “, he said. He also spoke about social evils like infanticide and child marriage.

Among the state leaders present at the meeting were Mr Kalyan Singh, Mr Lalji Tandon, Mr Keshrinath Tripathi and national president of the Mahila Morcha Karuna Shukla.

Yesterday, Mr Naqvi had announced in Rampur that the next poll would be fought under the leadership of a new-generation leader. He had made this statement while attending a jan panchayet at Bilaspur near Rampur town, his former parliamentary constituency.

Asked if he was in the race for the new leader he was talking about, Mr Naqvi had clarified that “I am not in the race. The party has capable second-rung leaders who will spearhead the party campaign in the next General Election”, he had said.

Mr Naqvi’s statement, coming in the wake of RSS chief K. Sudarshan’s observation on the need for a change in leadership, had sparked off a furore in the party rank and file yesterday. He later had to issue a modified statement, saying that Mr Advani would take a final decision on the leadership issue.

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