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Jinnah is secular, it's a fact: Jaswant
Onkar Singh in New Delhi |
June 09, 2005 11:39 IST
Last Updated: June 09, 2005 14:56 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are trying to find out a solution to end the impasse caused by the resignation of party chief Lal Kishenchand Advani.
Advani resigned on Tuesday after the Vishwa Hindu Parishad criticised him for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan's founder.
Advani had described Jinnah as a secular leader, which upset leaders within the party as well.
On Wednesday evening, the parliamentary board of the party had rejected the resignation and a delegation led by Venkaiah Naidu had called on Advani and asked him to take back his resignation. Advani had sought time till Thursday to give his reply.
Though the BJP continues to deny that Advani had asked them to clarify their stand on his statement, senior leaders of the party are holding meetings to see how best they could salvage the situation without committing themselves on Jinnah.
"A new resolution is now being worked out, which would accommodate a paragraph on Advani's visit to Pakistan and also ask the people of India to take the comments made by him on Jinnah in the overall context," said a senior party leader.
But the BJP leadership is not willing to go beyond that. "How can we suddenly say that Jinnah was secular when we have been maintaining that he was not. The whole party was shocked beyond words when news of his statement first came from Pakistan. Acceptance for his statement in toto would amount to negation of all that RSS has stood for all these years," a senior party functionary, who occasionally briefs the media, told rediff.com.
The BJP leadership would meet on Thursday evening in a bid to diffuse the tension. Meanwhile, Advani received a shot in the arm when former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh sent him a message from Israel, where he is on tour, saying that he fully agreed with the statement of Advani on Jinnah. "That Jinnah is secular is a historical fact," Singh is supposed to have said in that message.