Advani Plays down Jaitley-Rajnath Rift

NDA prime ministerial hopeful and top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani on Monday rubbished media reports that suggested that faction feuds rampant in the saffron party could thwart Advani’s aspirations for the top post.

“It makes a nice copy, but there is no rift within the party,” said the BJP stalwart in New Delhi, he was speaking on the sidelines of a function marking the release of “Guarding India’s Integrity” – the memoirs of Lieutenant-General (retd) SK Sinha, who also served as governor of the border states of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.

He was reacting to media reports triggered by a stand-off between party president Rajnath Singh and BJP poll campaign committee chairman Arun Jaitley.

Jaitley is said to be on a “principled but loyal” warpath over former Delhi university students’ union president Sudhanshu Mittal’s appointment as party co-coordinator for political affairs for the north-eastern states.

Advani’s pronouncements, however, failed to quell media reports that suggested that the leader was attempting to broker peace between Rajnath Singh and Jaitley with help from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Jaitley, one of the best poll strategists in the BJP, has skipped several key arty meetings over the last few days.

A report on the IANS says that all efforts to convince Jaitley have proved futile as the leader has refused to accept anything less than the revocation of Mittal’s appointment.

The truth will be out in less than 24 hours when top BJP leaders meet for the next CEC in the national capital on Tuesday.

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