Slighted, BJP Asks PM to Focus on Drought, Price Rise

Refuting speculations of a power shift imminent in his party, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said LK Advani would continue as Leader of Opposition in Parliament. But added that party chief Rajnath Singh will not serve a consecutive second term.

Javadekar’s statements come amid reports of hectic parleys between BJP and RSS leaders over a recovery road-map for the party.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat met Advani at the latter’s residence this morning, with senior Sangh leader Madandas Devi reiterating BJP will take its own decisions regarding its future.

Javadekar said Rajnath Singh had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking the latter to stop worrying about the BJP and instead focus on the drought and price rise.

Rajnath’s letter was response to the PM’s statement on Saturday in which he had said: “The situation in the BJP is not good… it is BJP’s internal matter but stability in political parties is most necessary in a democracy, otherwise, it will have an impact on the country.”

“Rather than worrying about the development in the BJP, we urge you to concentrate on the developmental work. The farmers of the country are suffering from the drought. Constitute a Task Force to tackle the drought situation. Take immediate steps to tackle price rise,” Javadekar quoted from Rajnath’s letter.

Earlier in the day, former BJP president Venkaiah Naidu rubbished reports of a looming change in the top party leadership, he had contended that LK Advani would continue as the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and iterated that the party will take its own decisions regarding its future.

In the morning, senior RSS leader Madandas Devi speaking to the press after a breakfast meeting with Advani and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat expressed hope that the BJP will come out stronger from the current crisis.

While clarifying that the Sangh would not interfere in the party decision-making processes Devi said: “BJP has assured the Sangh that they will stand united and solve all problems.”

The BJP has been inundated with problems since it expelled senior party leader Jaswant Singh for showering praise on Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his recent book ‘Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence.’

Since his expulsion Singh, with adequate support from party leaders Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha and former National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, have taken pot shots at the BJP leadership.

While Shourie trained his guns on the party chief, Mishra and Singh told interviewers that Advani, then Union Home Minister, was aware of the militant-hostage swap during the 1999 Kandahar hijack.

The statements come as a blow to Advani’s image, who has all along maintained that he was unaware that three terrorists, including Maulana Masood Azhar, were to be freed in exchange for the 160 hostages on flight IC-814 that had been hijacked to Kandahar while on its way from Kathmandu to New Delhi.

Singh later claimed that Advani was ‘at the center’ of the wad waving incident that shocked the nation during the trust vote prime minister Manmohan Singh faced over the Indo-US nuclear accord last year.

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