LK Advani and senior RSS leaders are expected to stamp out the crisis caused by the Arun Jaitley-Rajnath Singh rift, which threatens to blow up on the BJP’s face days ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Top RSS men have conveyed to the BJP leaders that they should not have allowed an issue of this nature to rock the party at this time — particularly when the Sangh was against controversial appointments.
Jaitley, the BJP’s general secretary, stands his ground, and has told party officials that he would continue to stay away from the BJP’s central election committee meetings till the controversial appointment of Delhi businessman Sudhanshu Mittal as a functionary in charge of the Northeast was cancelled.
Those close to party chief Rajnath Singh said he was not inclined to cancel Mittal’s appointment, but he was “pained” by the events that led to Jaitley not attending Friday’s meeting. Rajnath, said party leaders, would like an early resolution.
The next meeting is scheduled for March 17, and BJP and RSS leaders expect a resolution of the crisis by then. Advani had so far not intervened, but his aides said he might take up the issue with Rajnath.
RSS pointsman Ramlal Aggarwal, who is the BJP’s general secretary for organisation, has spoken to both leaders as well as Mittal. Senior party leader Venkaiah Naidu has also spoken to them.
Jaitley maintained that his protest was only symbolic to check the role of moneybags in party affairs and not directed against Rajnath’s leadership.
Rajnath, too, held that it was not his intention to “slight” Jaitley by appointing Mittal, which was guided by other BJP leaders who were handling negotiations with the party’s Assam’s ally, the Asom Gana Parishad.
At the centre of the storm, Mittal told reporters that he did not understand the row and did not think Jaitley would be opposed to his appointment. He said that he was also in the party for long time, helping in election work.