Advani meets RSS chief


New Delhi : Amid speculation of a possible leadership change in the crisis-hit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), veteran party leader L.K. Advani Saturday met Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).

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RSS sources confirmed that Advani had reached the organisation’s office to meet Bhagwat, but declined to divulge the agenda of the meeting.

Advani’s meeting comes after senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar called on Bhagwat late Friday. The four leaders later called on Advani, sparking speculation of a possible leadership change.

The Advani-Bhagwat meeting comes a day after the RSS chief, addressing a rare press conference, asked the BJP to put an end to the infighting. Bhagwat also asserted that the BJP will “rise from the ashes”.

Earlier, former Uttarakhand chief minister B.C. Khanduri, who was forced to step down following the BJP’s poor showing in the Lok Sabha polls in the state, also paid a visit to the RSS chief.

The BJP has been in turmoil following Jaswant Singh’s expulsion from the party last week over his controversial book “Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence” in which he has praised Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

The crisis deepened after Singh and later senior party leaders Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, as well as former National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, said in media interviews that Advani was in the know of the militant-hostage swap during the 1999 hijack of an Indian Airlines aircraft.

Advani 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 a flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi.