Jaitley steps down as BJP general secretary (Lead)

June 16th, 2009 - 3:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley has quit as the party’s general secretary, days after being named leader of opposition in the upper house of parliament Rajya Sabha.
Jaitley, the BJP’s chief campaign manager for the Lok Sabha elections, had stepped down in keeping with the party’s tradition of one-man one-post, BJP’s media cell convenor Nalin Kohli told reporters here.

As speculation mounted about the fresh turmoil in the BJP, three days after senior leader Yashwant Sinha resigned from all party posts, Kohli said Jaitley had quit his post the day he was chosen for the top job in the Rajya Sabha.

“Not much should be read into the timing of his resignation,” he told a TV channel.

Kohli denied that the timing of the disclosure of Jaitley’s resignation was a conspiracy.

When told that Advani was leader of opposition in the lower house for some time while still being the party president, Kohli said one-man one-post was a “general principle that is followed” but not enforced.

Jaitley has been the target of senior leaders ever since the party’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani picked him as leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha June 3.

Former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh spoke of a disconnect between “parinaam and puraskar (results and rewards)” at the party’s core group meeting last week.

According to party insiders, he wondered at the meeting that Jaitley, who was in charge of the elections, had been rewarded despite the party’s poor show in the April-May elections. The BJP slumped to 116 seats from 138 in the 2004 elections.

Next was Yashwant Sinha, who quit all his posts and said in his resignation letter that responsibility should be fixed for the debacle and the party should be reconstituted. Sinha resigned as party vice-president, national executive member and in-charge of Karnataka affairs.

Kohli denied that Jaitley’s resignation had anything to do with the crucial national executive meeting of the party, scheduled for June 20 and 21. Speculation is rife that the meeting might be put off in view of the unrest within the party.

“The national executive meeting will be held as scheduled and since it is being held in the aftermath of the elections, the outcome will be analysed. But a detailed analysis would take place at the chintan baithak (brainstorming session) in August,” Kohli said.

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