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BJP sure of winning him over

delhi Updated: Apr 22, 2008 00:50 IST
Shekhar Iyer

Even as senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde kept up his defiant stance, the central BJP seemed sure of ending the crisis caused by his resignation.

Munde spoke to BJP’s Prime Minister nominee LK Advani who assured him that the party still valued his leadership and did not back any conspiracy to cut him to size. Advani asked him to come to Delhi to meet the central BJP leaders and sort out the issues bothering him while indicating that any move to belittle his (Munde’s) standing in BJP did not have his sanction. BJP president Rajnath Singh also spoke to him thrice to persuade him to withdraw his resignation.

Munde’s call to Advani came through late Monday afternoon after BJP mediators assured him that his complaints would be heard and a “genuine” solution found to his satisfaction. Munde told other central leaders that he had dispatched state BJP leaders Pandurang Phundkar and Eknath Khadse to Delhi to talk to central leaders to apprise them of his stand. He did not want to come to Delhi without a clear solution being found to the crisis.

After a two-hour meeting of BJP’s core group late evening, BJP president Rajnath Rajnath Singh said, "He (Munde) will come here on Monday night or Tuesday morning and we will talk to him." Advani, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Arun Jaitly, Sushma Swaraj and Bal Apte attended the meeting. "I am confident that some solution will be found through talks," the BJP chief said. He said there was "no compromise formula."

Singh discussed the issue with BJP Maharashtra unit chief Nitin Gadkari and former Union minister Ram Naik. Gadkari also met Advani. Munde made it clear that his grievances date to the period when he was removed as Maharashtra BJP chief and Nitin Gadkari appointed in his place. Earlier, Advani, Rajnath Singh and other leaders including Venkaiah Naidu decided that Munde should be persuaded at “any cost” to take back his resignation as the BJP could not afford to lose him when the polls to the Lok Sabha and the Maharashtra assembly were due next year.