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From what position should I quit, asks Vajpayee

Wednesday 13 April 2005, by VYAS*Neena

NEW DELHI, APRIL 12 . When the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief, K.S. Sudarshan’s interview suggesting that the top two leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party "step aside" ripped through the party headquarters, the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is reported to have asked his colleagues: "Which post do I hold? Which position should I quit?" He was gently reminded that he was chairman of the National Democratic Alliance.

Apparently, according to a senior BJP leader, the first reaction of the party president, L.K. Advani, was: "I am a `swayamsevak.’ If the RSS `sarsanghchalak’ has suggested I should step aside, I should resign." But party colleagues told him that would be inviting disaster for the party.

The damage was controlled to some extent by insisting that the RSS general secretary, Mohan Bhagwat, issue a statement saying that the RSS believed Mr. Advani should continue as party president.

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