iconimg Friday, September 04, 2015

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 13, 2009
Upset over a controversial appointment made by BJP chief Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitely, senior party general secretary and chief strategist for the elections, on Friday stayed away from the deliberations of the party’s top panel that selects candidates. Jaitely’s opposition was to Singh naming Sudhanshu Mittal, a former aide of late Pramod Mahajan, as BJP’s additional in-charge for the Northeast.

Jaitley said his stand was irreversible until Mittal’s appointment was cancelled. He was also backed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who was also upset with the style of Singh’s functioning.

On his part, the BJP chief stuck to his gun, conveying to other leaders that Mittal’s appointment was done as he had played a key role in cementing the alliance with Asom Gana Parishad.

Jaitely objected to Mittal on two grounds — that his background casts a slur on the party’s bid for a clean image and that his appointment was sprung as a surprise – without even L.K. Advani being “merely informed.”