BJP rules out leadership change; RSS says party will be stronger


New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday dismissed speculations of a leadership change while Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders, who met L.K. Advani, said the party would emerge stronger from the present turmoil.

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Refuting media reports that the party would effect a change of guard at the behest of the RSS, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters here: “He (Advani) is leader of opposition (in the Lok Sabha), Rajnath Singh is our president; no one is resigning.”

Speculations have been rife that at the instance of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, the BJP would usher in a younger leadership with general secretary Arun Jaitley tipped to be the party president in place of Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj to replace Advani as the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha.

The RSS, the ideological parent of the BJP, reiterated that the party would take its own decisions and hoped that its leadership would stand united, putting an end to infighting.

“The BJP has a mass base. And with such a party, problems are bound to occur… but the party will emerge stronger from the crisis,” senior RSS leader Madandas Devi told reporters here.

“The party will decide its own course of action,” he said, after he, Bhagwat and Suresh Soni held a breakfast meeting with BJP veteran Advani Sunday.

“The RSS is assured that the BJP leadership, as a team, will stand united and face the present situation; and will overcome all the problems and emerge stronger,” he further said.

Adding to this, party spokesperson Javadekar said: “Let me clarify what the Sangh has said today and what has happened in the last three days. The deliberations point to the strength of BJP and Sangh Parivar that we can sort out our own matters.”

Several BJP leaders met Bhagwat and other senior RSS leaders over the last few days.

The commotion in the nation’s main opposition party began with the expulsion of senior leader and former central minister Jaswant Singh for his remarks on Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his recently released book.

After that, MP and former cabinet minister Arun Shourie lashed out at the party leadership and dubbed the BJP as a “kati patang” (a kite adrift).

The crisis in the BJP led the RSS to call for an end to infighting, with Bhagwat expressing his hopes at a press conference Friday that it would “rise from the ashes”.