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Vajpayee defends Advani, would like him to hold both posts

July 17, 2005 18:56 IST

As the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh mounted pressure on Bharatiya Janata Party president Lal Kishenchand Advani to resign, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Sunday came out in support of Advani, saying he could continue in both posts as party chief and leader of opposition, and the party need not be bound by the one man-one post norm.

"I would like to see him (continue) in both posts," Vajpayee told reporters in response to a volley of questions on his personal views on whether Advani should resign from one of the posts.

Asserting that the BJP was bound by the one man-one post norm and there were no two views on it, Vajpayee said, Advani himself was not in favour of holding on to two positions.

"It was an arrangement and can be changed. It will be changed. It is up to Advani to decide which post he wants to
hold," said Vajpayee, who was in Gwalior on a private visit.

The former prime minister parried questions on whether the RSS fountainhead had asked Advani to resign, saying Advani had neither praised Jinnah nor said anything controversial about the disputed Babri structure.

Describing as 'baseless' the controversy over Advani's remarks on Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Vajpayee said Advani did not praise him, but was only hinting at the establishment of a 'religious' state in Pakistan.

Similarly, while refering to the Babri structure, Advani did not want to rake up any controversy or gain praise.

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