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Vajpayee leaves party with riddle
Onkar Singh in Mumbai | December 29, 2005 22:23 IST
Last Updated: December 30, 2005 00:50 IST
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former prime minister of India, dropped two bombshells during his speech at a public rally at Shivaji Park, Mumbai, when he declared that he was retiring from active politics and will not contest elections in the future. He also said that henceforth Lal Kishenchand Advani and Pramod Mahajan will be the Ram-Laxman of the party instead of Vajpayee and Advani.
"We are upset with his sudden announcement. His retirement from active politics has spoilt our mood," said Shahnawaz Hussain, former minister in the Vajpayee government.
However, other senior leaders of the party did not agree with him. "Vajpayeeji may have felt that growing age is becoming a major handicap. He felt he was not able to discharge his duties as hence his announcement not to remain in active politics and contest any future elections," said a former minister of state from Haryana.
One of the party's vice presidents also asked that n ot much should be read into Vajpayee's statement. "This was expected. But there is no change in the coronation of Rajnath Singh as the president of the BJP. He will take over the party while Advaniji will remain a guiding force and Pramod, with his organising skills, will assist Rajnath Singh. He called himself Parsuram because both Parsuram and Vajpayeeji are Brahmins and he does not want to spoil the coronation of Rajnath Singh. This coronation will be conducted by Ram and Laxman, namely Advaniji and Pramod Mahajan," he explained.
Pramod Mahajan, the Laxman in the Ram-Laxman thus described by Vajpayee, chose to remain silent despite repeated attempts to elicit a reaction. "Anything I speak now will be interpreted differently," he said. Former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh said he would not like to comment as 'this was a matter concerning bade log (big people).
"I am a small soldier of the party. How can I comment on this issue," he told PTI. His party colleague Kalraj Mishra said he would first like to ascertain the factors that led Vajpayee to make this announcement. "I will first see the background that led to him saying what he did tonight," Mishra told PTI.
With no senior party leader coming forward to give his take on Vajpayee's stunner of an announcement, it was left to the delegates, who had begun trooping to the venue from the public rally at Shivaji Park, to decipher the significance of the former PM's momentous declaration.