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Vajpayee may skip party's leadership meets

delhi Updated: Jan 25, 2008 15:41 IST
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Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is likely to skip the three-day Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national executive and national council sessions beginning in New Delhi on Sunday.

BJP president Rajnath Singh was non-committal when asked if Vajpayee would attend the meetings. "Let us see," Singh replied.

Vajpayee, whose indifferent health has led to a lot of speculation, did not attend the last national executive and national council meetings of the BJP at Bhopal in September either.

At that time, just as supporters of LK Advani were getting ready to declare him the prime ministerial candidate in the next general elections, Rajnath Singh pulled a piece of paper and read out a message from Vajpayee that said: "I will be back in your midst soon."

That stopped Advani's supporters in their tracks, even as they cried foul in private.

Will there be another message from Vajpayee this time? Singh smiled and said: "He alone can tell".

Since the Bhopal meet, the BJP parliamentary board has met in December and named Advani the party's prime ministerial candidate in the next elections. It is expected that the national executive and national council will endorse this next week.

On record, the national council has been summoned at the capital's Ramlila Grounds on January 28 and 29 to amend the BJP constitution to make it obligatory for the party to provide 33 percent reservation for women in all party lists of candidates for assemblies and parliament.

BJP office bearers have accepted this recommendation, made by a committee chaired by Sushma Swaraj.

The party's general secretaries met on Thursday evening under Rajnath Singh's chairmanship to finalise the programme for the three-day meet.

"There will be only two resolutions, political and agricultural. These will not be passed in the national executive. Only suggestions will be invited and the resolutions passed in the national council," Singh said.

"The council session will begin and end with speeches by Advani and by me. We will also finalise Advani's countrywide tour programme there."