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Vajpayee, Advani should quit BJP command: RSS chief

Monday 11 April 2005

New Delhi

In a surprise statement, RSS chief KS Sudarshan has said former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP President LK Advani should step aside to make way for younger leaders in the party.

Speaking on NDTV 24x7’s ’Walk the Talk’ programme, Sudharshan said both leaders should take note of their age and remove themselves from active command of the party.

"Both should step aside and see younger leadership emerge in front of them," he said.

When interviewer Shekhar Gupta pointed out that Vajpayee often said he was tired, the RSS chief said, "I have been saying that he should go and let new faces emerge. He should stay as senior advisor only."

Asked whether the time had come for "some persons" to retire, he said, "Absolutely, age is a factor after all."

On whether Advani was also getting old, Sudarshan said, "Yes, both should step aside and see younger leadership emerge in front of them."

On the dissidence being faced by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Sudarshan said, "That is because of his style of functioning."

However, he was quick to add that "his (Modi’s) decisions are right and he gets the work done well".

Asked what was wrong with his style of functioning, Sudarshan said, "He does not take all the people into confidence collectively. He meets them separately."

The RSS chief said he had advised Modi to "take everyone along with you" and hoped that his style would change as he was "facing pressure from all sides".

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