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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Assure allies of our commitment to secularism: Advani to BJP workers

HT Correspondents , Hindustan Times  Surajkund/Bangalore, September 28, 2012
First Published: 15:32 IST(28/9/2012) | Last Updated: 15:12 IST(29/9/2012)

On a day the BJP paved the way for president Nitin Gadkari's second term in office, its Karnataka strongman BS Yeddyurappa threatened to quit and veteran leader LK Advani urged the party to introspect on corruption within its own ranks.

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Yeddyurappa, who is eyeing the BJP Karnataka unit chief's post, on Friday said: “There is a conspiracy in the BJP against me. I won’t stay if I am neglected and my self-respect is hurt. I will announce my political decision by December-end.”

Gadkari is believed to favour giving the post to Dharwad MP Prahlad Joshi.

“Gadkari is right that the party is more important than any individual. He can face the next assembly elections with Ananth Kumar as the state BJP chief,” Yeddyurappa said, praising Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for keeping promises made to her party leaders.

At its national council meeting in Surajkund, Haryana, the BJP came under more attack from Advani.
 
“When it comes to even a hint of corruption in our ranks, we should be more intolerant and resolute than when we attack the same in our adversaries. This is how we can build our credibility among the people,” he said at the valedictory session.

Several BJP leaders have faced corruption charges in the last two years. Yeddyurappa had to quit as Karnataka chief minister after a damning Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

Gadkari himself has served a legal notice on an activist who alleged he prevented her from filing a PIL on the Maharashtra irrigation scam because of “business relations” with NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Advani said expanding the NDA would require assuring potential allies about the BJP's commitment to secularism. This is close to JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar's line that secularism is central to the NDA and may be read as a setback to Modi.

Modi didn't speak at the national council, fuelling rumours of being sidelined. But he addressed a rally in Faridabad and accused the PM of acting in the interests of the US by allowing FDI in retail.

The national council ratified an amendment to the BJP constitution to allow chiefs to stay in office for two consecutive terms.


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