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BJP parliamentary board to discuss election outcome
A Correspondent in Delhi | June 18, 2004 15:21 IST
Last Updated: June 18, 2004 16:37 IST
In a bid to shield Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from the wrath of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Bharatiya Janata Party has called for a meeting of the Parliamentary Board on June 20 before that of the national executive in June 22-23.
BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan on Friday announced that party president M Venkaiah Naidu has called Sunday's meeting of the nine-member board, with one invitee, which is the highest policy-making body of the party.
It would, he said, discuss all aspects of the outcome of Election 2004, including Gujarat.
Sunday's meeting comes in the wake of the dissidence against Modi and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee insisting that the party discuss the affect of the Gujarat riots on the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls.
Vajpayee wants the issue to be discussed at the meeting of the national executive in Mumbai, which the party and the Sangh Parivar is resisting.
A majority in the party and all of the Sangh Parivar is against Modi's removal.
It is quite possible that the party does not want Vajpayee to air his views before the national executive, which comprises representatives from all over India.
Once he voices his criticism before the parliamentary board, the party is expected to come up with a counter at the national executive meet or at least ensure a honourable exit for Modi.
Mahajan said the decision to convene the meeting was taken by Naidu after discussions with former deputy prime minister Lal Kishenchand Advani who spoke to Vajpayee.
Former minister Jaswant Singh and he himself were present alongwith Naidu when Advani spoke to Vajpayee in Manali, Mahajan said.
Mahajan said the Parliamentary Board was all powerful and was empowered to take any important decision.
Asked why politcal issues cannot be taken up at the National Executive, he said, "You cannot discuss any issue threadbare where you have 150 people."
To a question if the Parliamentary Board has been convened in the backdrop of Vajpayee's statement on Gujarat, Mahajan said, "The press is free to interpret."
About Vajpayee's today's comments accepting "maximum" responsibility for the party's defeat, Mahajan said the former prime pinster was the supreme leader of the party and as a "general" accepted defeat and has not blamed anyone else.
Vajpayee has also said that it was a collective defeat, Mahajan said and added that in BJP victory or defeat is always collective. "We never blame one person for defeat or credit one person for victory. We win or lose collectively."
Asked whether Vajpayee made the remarks under RSS pressure, Mahajan said he was never in the habit of working under pressure. "We don't want to give credit for his statements to anybody else," he added.
Besides Vajpayee, Advani, Naidu, Jaswant Singh and Mahajan, the other members of the board are Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Sanjay Joshi and Shivraj Singh Chauhan, secretary of the board.
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