Vajpayee writes open letter, hints party should not indulge in internal bickering

Written by Mukesh Ranjan | Bhopal, Sep 21 | Updated: Sep 22 2007, 04:31am hrs
Keeping the rumour mills churning, BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in his inimitable style, on Friday signalled that he was still around and the party should not unnecessary indulge in internal bickering to select his successor.

Vajpayees message to the party cadre came through an open letter read out at the BJP national executive here by BJP president Rajnath Singh, in which the former Prime Minister made it clear that he was still not calling it quits. I regret that I am not attending the meeting, as doctors advice prevailed over my will. But your wishes have magical effect and I am improving thick and fast. Very soon I shall be among you, he said.

Further adding to the intrigue, the 82-year-old leader also added a paragraph from his favourite poem Aaur phir se diya jalae, which contained a sentence that resulted in a flutter. It led to a lot of questions at the partys briefing on whether he has complained about a siege within the party when he spoke of Apno ke wigno ne ghera (being encircled by obstacles by our own people) in his poem.

Vajpayees absence at the party meet had led to speculations that the meet would be overshadowed by the issue of leadership in the party. Expectedly, leaders of the two factions one led by senior leader LK Advani and the other by the party chief Rajnath Singhbegan their day by sharing their respective views on the issue with the media and set an informal agenda for a showdown. However, the move to come out with a letter seems to have been used as a trump card to puncture the plans of Advani supporters who wanted to project him as partys prime ministerial candidate in the next election.

Party leaders sought to downplay questions about Who after Advani saying it was all only in the mind of the media. The confusion is in your mind, senior leader Jaswant Singh told reporters when asked whether Advani was the partys prime ministerial candidate in the absence of Vajpayee. Jaswant Singh said there were no two views that Advani is a leader and under Vajpayees leadership everything happens in the party. Advani has been and remains the right-hand of Vajpayee for the last 50 years, he said.