No internal differences in BJP: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi, Jan 1 | Updated: Jan 2 2006, 05:30am hrs
In an apparent indication of the reserved approach he might follow, BJP president-elect Rajnath Singh on Sunday maintained that factionalism was not present in the party, notwithstanding former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayees open comparison of Pramod Mahajan with Lakshman that had created a flutter within the rank and file.

Mr Singh, who is to formally take over as the next BJP president on Monday morning, gave sufficient hints that he would give his best shot in ensuring unity in the party. Replying to queries on the intra-party wrangling, Mr Singh said, Throughout my political career, I have never considered anything as a challenge but always tried to find a solution to problems. Besides, there were no internal differences in the party in the past, nor there will be any in future.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers task may be easier said that done, given that none in the second-rung leadership are likely to be accommodating.

The first day itself when the choice of Mr Singh was approved by the RSS leadership, Mr Venkaiah Naidu sought to sow confusion by refusing to endorse any such decision.

Mr Vajpayees move to significantly raise Pramod Mahajans status by equating him as Lakshman and Mr Advani as Ram, too, was seen in the context of intra-party equations and had led to immense heartburn within the leadership ranks.

What is even more difficult for Mr Singh is that he is taking over in a year that may not yield any major achievements electorally.

The major states going to polls this year are West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where the BJP is not a major stakeholder. Mr Singh is the third BJP president in 15 months.

M Venkaiah Naidu had to step down as party chief midway in October 2004 while Mr Advani, who took over the reins after Naidu, resigned on Sunday after a brief stint of close to one-and-a-half years.

While speaking to reporters, Mr Singh also responded to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadavs reported accusation that there was a nexus between him and the mafia, Mr Singh gave a subtle reply, He should initiate a CBI inquiry in this regard.