Both Advani,Rajnath step back after RSS chief brokers truce

Rajnath said Advani had agreed to withdraw his resignation on the 'advice' of the RSS chief.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: June 11, 2013 9:29 pm

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Tuesday brokered peace between L K Advani and the BJP establishment led by Rajnath Singh,culminating in the veteran leader withdrawing his resignation from BJP party posts. In return,Singh promised to take Advani into confidence on issues concerning the functioning of the BJP.

At a hurriedly-called press conference at Advani’s residence in the evening,Rajnath said Advani had agreed to withdraw his resignation on the “advice” of the RSS chief. “I will personally address whatever complaints Advaniji has,” the BJP president said.

Advani was not present at the press conference,at which Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari appeared alongside Rajnath. Hours after the announcement,as rival factions continued to claim victory in the standoff,a press statement issued by the BJP indicated clearly that the party establishment had been forced to discuss Advani’s concerns.

“On behalf of the party Rajnath Singh assured Advani that his concerns about the functioning of the party would be properly addressed and the president (Rajnath) will discuss the modalities of addressing these issues with Advani,” the statement said. The assurance that the “functioning of the party” would be discussed is significant because the BJP parliamentary board which met under the chairmanship of Rajnath on Monday did not make this commitment while asserting that Advani’s resignation had been rejected.

In his resignation letter,Advani had questioned Rajnath’s way of handling the party,expressed displeasure at its “current functioning”,and complained that “most leaders” were “concerned just with their personal agendas”. The anti-Advani camp had confirmed on Monday that the veteran’s displeasure was not limited to “one issue” of Modi’s elevation as election campaign committee chief.

Because the RSS chief has personally brokered the truce,it is now almost binding on Rajnath to address all the grievances that Advani has,and to get him on board on all major decisions in the future,including the party’s prime ministerial candidate. This could indicate a setback to the Modi camp which had assumed that his projection as the campaign committee chief was virtually an endorsement of his candidature for PM.

Earlier in the day,Rajnath asserted that the decision to appoint Modi as the campaign committee chief was final. “When the party takes a decision,nothing can alter it. Moreover the decision is not being challenged by anyone,so why even think of altering it? To begin with,there is no one questioning the decision,” he told reporters in Banswara where he went to attend the 473rd birth anniversary celebrations of Maharana Pratap.

On his return to Delhi,Rajnath drove straight to Advani’s residence to announce that the crisis had blown over.

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