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Advani likely to quit as BJP chief on December 30
December 26, 2005 18:02 IST
Even as indications were available in Mumbai Monday that Lal Kishenchand Advani would quit as the Bharatiya Janata Party president on December 30, a debate has started in the party on his "competence" to continue as the Leader of the Opposition after his "mishandling" of the motion on the expulsion of members of Parliament found guilty of accepting bribes in the cash-for-query scam.
According to top party sources, Advani was under intense pressure, especially from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh backers, to give up the top party post during the national convention, which concludes on December 30.
Earlier, BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan had indicated that Advani would demit office only after the conclusion of the convention.
The sources said Advani would now most likely be resigning on December 30 so that the name of his successor could be formally ratified by the national council, the highest party organ.
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BJP general secretary Rajnath Singh has already been conveyed the party leadership's decision to appoint him as the next BJP chief.
Meanwhile, a top BJP leader said he was surprised over the manner in which Advani equated corruption with 'stupidity' while speaking on the motion in the Lok Sabha for the expulsion of the MPs.
"If corruption is 'stupidity', I would only say it is stupid on our part to defend corruption," the leader said, echoing the sentiments of several other party leaders.
"While we were all unhappy with the procedure adopted, nobody wanted the party to be seen as shielding the corrupt and that was the public perception we ended up creating," he said.
He said the party was doing well as long as it was only questioning procedural inadequacies in the expulsion of the tainted MPs, but it lost the high moral ground by opposing the motion. Its image as a party, which supported probity in public life suffered a major setback, he added.