Miss Uma Bharti, former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, has been pressing for a change and she was told by the party's central leadership that the issue would be discussed after the Bihar elections and she should concentrate of campaigning in Bihar until then and ensure the party's victory.
When the BJP general secretaries met under the leadership of party president L K Advani at Ashoka Road Thursday evening the media persons turned up in large numbers presuming that Madhya Pradesh would be the only issue that would be under discussion. After two and a half hours of the meeting party general secretary Pramod Mahajan denied that the issue of leadership was discussed at all.
"This issue was not even taken up or mentioned, leave alone being discussed. The right forum for the change of the leadership is the parliamentary board," he said. He refused to give any direct answer when asked if the parliamentary board meeting had been convened to discuss Uma Bharti's demand. "This is our party and we shall call the parliamentary board as and when necessary," he added.
Besides Advani, party general secretaries amongst those who were present including Jaswant Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Vijay Kumar Malhotra. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was expected to attend the meeting cancelled his programme at the eleventh hour.
According to a senior party leader who did attend the meeting the issue of Uma Bharti was raised by it was objected to by some persons who said that the issue of change of the leadership should be discussed only by the parliamentary board. "In any case there are no takers for Uma Bharti in the party," said another leader.
Media speculates that the party would name two observers and send them to Bhopal to find out the views of the party legislators through secret ballot. Shivraj Singh Chauhan, president of the state unit, is also in the fray for the post of the chief minister in case the central leadership of the party decides to go in for a change.