Murmurs of protest in BJP over Advani as opposition leader

June 2nd, 2009 - 9:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) Murmurs of protest have started in the Bharatiya Janata Party against L.K. Advani’s election as leader of opposition with party vice-president and Rajya Sabha member Pyarelal Khandelwal complaining about it to BJP chief Rajnath Singh.
In a letter to Singh, Khandelwal, a senior leader from Madhya Pradesh, took exception to the party deciding on Advani as unanimous candidate without first calling a meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary board.

Reliable party sources said Khandelwal wrote that the party should have followed a procedure and called a meeting of the parliamentary board, its highest decision-making body, before naming Advani the opposition leader.

The sources also said this could be the beginning of troubles for Advani and cited the meeting between senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi and Khandelwal Tuesday evening.

Joshi is considered to be in the camp in the party opposing Advani.

“Do you think I am here to hatch some conspiracy?” Joshi retorted when the waiting reporters outside Khandelwal’s home asked him what transpired in the meeting.

When pressed further, he said: “No bytes.”

As the reporters requested him to say something, Joshi, who won the election from Varanasi, snapped: “I don’t bite.”

A meeting of the BJP’s Lok Sabha MPs Sunday elected Advani as the leader of the legislature party and thus the leader of the opposition in the lower house.

Advani, the party’s prime ministerial candidate, had offered to resign from the position - which he held in the last Lok Sabha too - on the day of the election results May 16.

He agreed not to press with his resignation after the party requested him, the sources say, at the instance of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s parliamentary board Tuesday kept in abeyance a possible decision on appointing Sushma Swaraj as deputy leader of the party in the Lok Sabha.

The sources said this was because the party wanted to consider other names too.

“There are other senior leaders and we have to ensure there is no controversy at this juncture,” a BJP strategist told IANS.

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