I will step down after Mumbai session, says Advani

New Delhi, Nov 15 | Updated: Nov 16 2005, 05:30am hrs
Seeking to put at rest all speculation about his future plans, BJP president LK Advani on Tuesday categorically declared that he stood by his announcement to demit office after the partys plenary session in Mumbai next month and that it was a well-considered decision.

The BJP chief, who was forced to announce his exit after the RSS took strong exception to his controversial remarks on Jinnah during his Pakistan visit, also reiterated that his observations on Jinnah were not made at the spur of the moment and it was his considered opinion all along.

What I said at Chennai was very well-considered. I stand by it. I will demit office at the end of the plenary session, he said responding to questions at the Hindustan Times leadership summit here.

Prior to making the announcement at Chennai, I was under tension. Only that evening I felt greatly relieved, he said.

Mr Advanis declaration assumes significance as it comes in the wake of speculation on whether he may actually step down as announced at the Chennai national executive on September 18.

While conceding that he may not agree with the Sangh fountain head on certain matters, the former deputy PM also heaped encomiums on it and asserted that any criticism would be like criticising his own family.

Declining to be drawn into the Jinnah controversy as it would not help the cause the questioner (Suhel Seth) was trying to promote, Mr Advani said, Whatever I did say at Karachi, why should I think it was at the spur of the moment It was my considered opinion all along.