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Crisis in BJP deepens
5 leaders want Advani’s ouster
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
Crisis deepened today for the BJP President, Mr L.K.Advani as five senior leaders responded to the RSS directive and came into open against the party chief putting a question mark on the next week scheduled national executive meeting in Chennai.

While two senior leaders namely Mr Madan Lal Khurana and Mr Pyrelal Khandelwal shot letters to Mr Advani containing their demands for his resignation, others like former BJP presidents K.Jana Krishnamurthi, Bangaru Laxman and party’ Parliamentary Secretary Ashwani Kumar asked the party president to have a discussion on all issues at the Chennai National Executive meeting next week.

Sources said that former BJP President and Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi was adding fuel to the fire by asking the leaders of his camp to come into open against Mr Advani.

Incidentally, all leaders who have come into open against Mr Advani had directly or indirectly suffered during Mr Advani’s long leadership. A final decision on the National Executive meeting in Chennai would be taken at the BJP General Secretaries meeting tomorrow which has been convened to clear the draft of resolutions for the Chennai meeting.

The meeting would be held “as per the schedule” at Mr Advani’s residence tomorrow evening, party spokesman Prakash Javadekar said. He said tomorrow’s meeting would be followed by a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Party leaders on Monday at former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s residence. The meeting would discuss issues to be raised in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament.

The meeting in Chennai is going to be stormy and would either seal the fate of Mr Advani or would make him emerge on top once again, as senior leader said.

Meanwhile, hectic parleys continued throughout the day as Mr Advani and senior BJP Vice-President M.Venkaiah Naidu met former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti also met Mr Advani and BJP General Secretary in charge of the organisation Sanjay Joshi.

Though the details of the meeting with Mr Vajpayee are not known, the sources said Mr Advani was trying to ascertain the former Prime Minister’s views before he evolves the strategy to counter the mounting pressure on him.

While BJP General Secretary Pramod Mahajan met party spoksperson Sushma Swaraj, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with Leader of the Oppostion in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh.

First to write a letter and hold a press conference for a select few today was Mr Khurana who shot off a strong-worded letter to the BJP chief attacking him for “extolling” Jinnah and accusing him of coming in the way of the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

He demanded Mr Advani’s resignation as party chief and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

“It is public knowledge that the Sangh leadership has lost confidence in you as it had expected that you, as a disciplined swayam sevak, should resign from the presidentship of the party.

“I do not know whether you respect the sentiments of Sangh leadership or whether you prefer to follow the advice of people like Sudheendra Kulkarni. But in the present circumstances, I find it impossible to continue under your leadership,” said Mr Khurana, a former Delhi strongman, who had resigned as Rajasthan Governor after the UPA came to power in Delhi and removed Governors with RSS links.

A former Vice-President of the party and sitting Rajya Sabha member Pyarelal Khandelwal, who is in Dr Joshi’s camp, also wrote a letter to him demanding that the Chennai National Executive next week discuss the party’s ideological commitment, his controversial Pakistan visit and the principle of “one-man one-post”, an implied criticism of Mr Advani.

In his brief letter to Mr Advani, Mr Khandelwal said it was important that these issues were discussed in detail at the Chennai meeting so that “the entire situation becomes clear”. He wanted a thorough discussion on Mr Advani’s Pakistan visit and “controversial questions arising out of it”.

He also sent a copy of the letter to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Mr Bangaru Laxman also joined the anti-Advani tirade and demanded that the party chief should clear the confusion created by his controversial statements in Pakistan at the upcoming Chennai National Executive meeting.

Mr K.Jana Krishnamurthy also wrote a letter to Mr Advani demanding that the present developments be discussed at the meeting.

“A lot of confusion has been created in the minds of lakhs of party workers and the party president should clear the air in Chennai”, Mr Laxman told the TNS over phone from Shirdi.

He said organisational matters including “one-man-one-post” principle and Mr Advani’s Pakistan visit should be discussed at the meeting.

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