Debating India

BJP

Kulkarni `offers’ to step down

Saturday 2 July 2005, by VYAS*Neena

Advani camp suggests he was the villain of the Jinnah piece; `he misled BJP chief’ To make matters worse, a "paper" recently read by Mr. Kulkarni at an "intellectual meet" in Bhopal was leaked. The paper virtually suggested that the BJP distance itself from the RSS.

NEW DELHI: In a letter to Bharatiya Janata Party president L.K. Advani, national secretary Sudheendra Kulkarni has offered "to step down as a member of the team of office-bearers" and continue to work for him as "an ordinary worker."

Unsigned copies of the letter, said to have been sent on June 24, were made available to the media on Friday, although Mr. Kulkarni himself is reported to have stated in Mumbai that he has not resigned. Informally, party leaders here confirmed that Mr. Advani had received the letter. A very senior leader told The Hindu that at a meeting of some senior leaders several days ago Mr. Advani himself said he had asked for Mr. Kulkarni’s resignation.

The sacrificial offering has been made even as the RSS began its five-day deliberations in Surat. The storm in the BJP over Mr. Advani’s "Jinnah is secular" formulation during his Pakistan visit is expected to be discussed. Mr. Kulkarni was with Mr. Advani during the visit.For the last one week and more - in fact, ever since his resignation as party president and later its withdrawal last month - BJP leaders have informally confirmed that the "Advani camp" advised him to "offer Mr. Kulkarni as the sacrificial lamb" to appease the RSS bosses, who would prefer to see Mr. Advani exit as the party chief. This camp suggested that Mr. Kulkarni was "the villain of the Jinnah piece" and that he had "misled" the BJP president.

To make matters worse, a "paper" recently read by Mr. Kulkarni at an "intellectual meet" in Bhopal was leaked. The paper virtually suggested that the BJP distance itself from the RSS.

One party leader told The Hindu that on June 24, RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan was to launch a book and Mr. Advani was to preside over the event. Mr. Sudarshan not turning up there was cited as proof of the distance between the heads of the parent RSS organisation and its powerful offspring, BJP. Several party leaders have said there has been no indication from the RSS that it will be satisfied with the offer of Mr. Kulkarni’s head.

See online : The Hindu

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