M A I N   N E W S

Vajpayee’s remarks inspire BJP leaders to enact Ramayan
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 30
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s remarks yesterday that outgoing party president L.K. Advani and senior leader Pramod Mahajan would be the new Ram-Lakshman duo of the BJP provoked much mirth and heartburn among its leaders.

While a handful of BJP leaders expressed their anguish at Mahajan’s ‘elevation’, others resorted to spoof to prove their point.

Former party president Venkaiah Naidu said he had no problem with the roles allotted to Mahajan since he was the BJP’s Hanuman. “I am a very devoted Hanuman of the BJP,” Naidu said. He, however, noted that the BJP itself was his own Ram.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, who is said to be unhappy at Mahajan’s `elevation’ as Lakshman, said every Ram had the right to choose his own Lakshman. “Vajpayee chose Venkiah as his Lakshman and Advani said something else,” Ms Swaraj said. On her part, Ms Swaraj said, her own Lakshman was party MP S.S. Ahluwalia evoking much mirth among mediapersons.

Observers say, the remarks by Naidu and Swaraj on Lakshman were intended to downgrade Mahajan who is seen as an ambitious generation next leader in the BJP. The party’s delegates from Maharashtra, carefully chosen by Mahajan and his men, openly told journalists that he was the party’s leader in waiting while president designate Rajnath Singh was just warming the place for their leader.

Rajnath Singh, who stayed away from mediapersons through the party’s silver jubilee celebrations, couldn’t help adding his bit to the political Ramayan being enacted. “I have congratulated Pramodji. He deserves it,” he has been quoted as saying.

Mr Singh is expected to take over as BJP president on Monday and is expected to spell out his plans and policies for the BJP. Mr Mahajan, who has shown his organisational skills, will play a major role under the BJP to be headed by Mr Singh.

So far, the RSS hasn’t yet commented on Mr Vajpayee’s praise for Mr Mahajan. The Sangh is said to be unhappy with Mahajan’s techno-savvy image and its leaders have hit out at him in several fora.



Ram temple back on BJP’s agenda

Mumbai, December 30
Out of power for the past 18 months, the BJP today came out with a declaration pledging its commitment to the Uniform Civil Code, abrogation of Article 370 and Ram temple as party chief L.K. Advani asserted that the recent scams that hit the party were shortcomings of individuals and not of the party.

The party, which had kept its pet and controversial issues on the backburner till it was in power in a coalition, adopted a “rajat jayanti sandesh” (silver jubilee message) that sought to project those issues back on the BJP agenda.

“We also remain steadfast in our commitment to promote national integration through propagation of cultural nationalism and enactment of a the Uniform Civil Code, the abrogation of Article 370, ban on religious conversion through inducement.” — PTI


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