A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sought to play down what it called a "media-created rift" within the party, its leader from Uttar Pradesh Lalji Tandan said he will vacate his seat only for the party's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi but seemed reluctant to do the same for president Rajnath Singh.
According to reports, Singh wants to contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Lucknow seat.
"I have repeatedly said that neither Rajnath nor Modi have approached me. It's true that even before Modi was made the party's PM candidate, I had said that I was ready to vacate my seat for Modi. I continue to hold on to that stand. But beyond that there have been no development," said Tandon hinting that he wasn't willing to extend the same offer to Singh.
With less than a month left for the first round of the Lok Sabha elections, the squabbling in the saffron party has raised fresh spectre of infighting which may threaten its electoral prospects.
"Jab koi baat kisi se hui hi nahin aur kisi ne mujhse sampark nahi kiya toh main kya keh sakta hoon (When I haven't spoken to anyone and no one have spoken to me what can I say)," Tandon said when asked if he was willing to accomodate Rajnath too.
The aides of the Lucknow MP claimed that the BJP chief was eyeing several constituencies, including Meerut and Moradabad besides Lucknow.
"But if he is indeed interested in Lucknow he should have at least contacted Tandonji, who is a veteran leader. Both met at the March 2 Lucknow rally. Yet there were no talks. There seems to be a systematic effort to target those who were considered close to Atal Bihari Vajpayee," his aide claimed.
Tandon, on his part, is claiming his legacy in Lucknow.
"I have served Lucknow so far and would continue to do so till my death. I am not going anywhere," he said.
On Saturday, the BJP chief faced some difficult moments when an upset Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj questioned the party's line on allocation of Lok Sabha seats and tie-ups with "tainted" leaders. But, on Sunday, both tried to defuse the tension.