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Home > News > Report

Interview controversy mars BJP

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | August 01, 2007 12:52 IST

Nothing seems to be going right for Bharatiya Janata Party. Rajnath Singh's controversial interview to Outlook magazine and its retraction later has kicked up a major controversy within the party.

The party has issued a rejoinder to the Editor in Chief Vinod Mehta and objected to some of the contents of the interview which Rajnath claimed had never been part of the conversation between him and the journalist Saba Naqvi Bhaumik. However, Singh has not insisted on printing an unqualified apology or setting the facts straight.

The most controversial part of the interview that forced the party chief Rajnath to go on the backfoot pretains to removal of Modi from the parliamentary board which according to him was 70 per cent decision of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and 30 per cent his own choice and as far as removal of Arun Jaitley as the national spokesman it was a case of 50:50 responsibility between him and the RSS.

"The interview contains certain statements which he never made, his observations have been deliberately distorted and quoted out of context and there is a palpable attempt to maliciously convey a negative image," Ravi Shankar Prasad said in his two and a half para rejoinder issued on the behalf of the party president Rajnath Singh.

The RSS-BJP meeting that was scheduled to be held on Wednesday has been postponed as it was felt that the questions raised during the meet would further embarrass both BJP top brass as well as RSS who had crossed its limits by interfering in day to day affairs of the party and how it should be run.

Though Singh maintained that Jaitley had no rival in the party and there was no need for the latter to run down his colleagues, he left it open for the readers to read between the lines and arrive at their own conclusions.

Singh also admitted that the Presidential poll led to problems with the allies and Najma Heptullah was made a candidate for vice president as senior leaders in the party felt that it should have its own candidate even if it had no chance to win.

Party's image has taken a further dip in the manner in which it handled the Goa [Images] issue. Many senior leaders felt that there was no big hurry in trying to get back into power in Goa. "It would have come to us naturally. But we messed it up," said one.