Jaitley, Rajnath fight ends, Uma signals return

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 21 2009, 05:15am hrs
After a sudden bout of turmoil caused by desertions from allies and factional fights within that cast a shadow over its ability to pose a challenge to the UPA, the BJP finally appears to be on the reconciliation track.

On Thursday, not only did the leadership manage to resolve differences between senior leader Arun Jaitley and BJP president Rajnath Singh, but also signalled the return of Uma Bharti into the saffron parivar. Indication that reconciliation had been arrived at was evident when Jaitley drove down to Rajnaths residence to hold discussions on selection of candidates for Delhi.

Taking serious objection to the appointment of Sudhanshu Mittal, a businessman as co-incharge of the Northeast, the lawyer turned politician had said he would stay away from meetings of the central election committee until Mittal was removed from the post. He skipped two meetings of the CEC on March 13 and 17.

Jaitley, who is also incharge of party affairs in Delhi, did not speak to the media outside Singhs residence but later laughed away reporters questions whether the issue has been resolved. A list of BJPs candidates for Delhi released later though gave enough hints that some kind of patch up had been arrived at, even though Mittal on Thursday was in Guwahati participating in meetings with state unit leaders as well as the AGP in his party post capacity. Mittal is said to have played a key role in finalising the seat-sharing agreement with the Asom Gana Parishad in Assam.

Justifying Jaitleys change of heart, his supporters contended that he did not want the fight to be reduced to personal vendetta and would not lose his moral high position by getting into accusations. Jaitley has been working for the party all day. But the issue is still to be resolved, they maintained.

Meanwhile, Uma Bharti, who formed the Bharatiya Janshakti Party after her exit from the BJP, called on BJPs prime ministerial candidate LK Advani at his residence and affirmed that she was supporting his candidature. I have not done any favour to the BJP or Advaniji by supporting them. Neither do I want them to feel this support as a favour. I have just fulfilled my duty to the nation. It is my rashtra dharma, she said.