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Advani to quit on December 31
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 27
BJP president L.K. Advani will formally quit his post on December 31 at a customary media briefing following the party’s convention, according to BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu.

The announcement of Mr Advani’s successor will also be made on New Year’s eve, Mr Naidu said. “The party has agreed to Advani’s request to relieve him from the post of party President. He will make some important announcements, including that of his successor,” he said.

Scenes of BJP delegates rushing to congratulate Mr Rajnath Singh on his impending promotion as party President indicated which way the wind was blowing in the BJP. Mr Rajnath Singh remained taciturn and avoided mediapersons.

The two-day convention of the BJP, ahead of the party’s silver jubilee celebrations, took place amid speculation that the RSS will play a major role in its affairs in the days to come.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi came in for criticism from the Advani camp today after certain newspapers attributed to him some remarks against the party President.

A defensive Joshi denied speaking to the media. “There was no question of being misquoted since I did not speak to the media at all,” he said.

However, the BJP delegates continued to express dismay at Mr Advani’s attempts to play down the cash-for-question scandal which caused the expulsion of six BJP MLAs from Parliament.

Mr Advani’s decision to walk out of Parliament has also drawn flak from the RSS, sources said. The silver jubilee celebrations may just conclude with the party adopting a resolution against corruption.

BJP gen secy quits

Sanjay Joshi, general secretary of the BJP on loan from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has quit the party.

Mr Venkaiah Naidu, vice-president of the party, confirmed Mr Joshi’s resignation after television channels reported it. “It is true that Mr Joshi came to Mumbai on Monday and handed his resignation to Advaniji,” Mr Naidu said. He added that Mr Joshi wanted an internal probe into a slander campaign against him by people in the party.

Mr Joshi is said to be caught between the warring groups of expelled leader Uma Bharti and her opponents in the Madhya Pradesh BJP. He was prompted to quit after letters and tapes tarnishing his image surfaced in the media, Mr Naidu said. He refused to entertain further questions from reporters. The letters and tapes allegedly hinted at Joshi’s sexual relations with a woman from Madhya Pradesh.

After his arrival in Mumbai on Monday, Mr Joshi sent in his resignation to Mr Advani and left immediately for Nagpur.

Since the controversy broke, Mr Joshi had been keeping a low profile, sources close to the BJP said. 


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