BJP forces Raje to talk with Gujjars | india | Hindustan Times
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BJP forces Raje to talk with Gujjars

india Updated: Jun 02, 2007 19:54 IST
Shekhar Iyer

Exasperated central BJP leaders pushed for an early breakthrough in the talks between the Raje government and the Gujjar leaders on Saturday.

They also sought to cap speculations over the future of Raje’s leadership, saying that the prime task before the party and the government remained restoring normalcy.

But they did not mince words in telling the chief minister to seize the intiative, saying that the time was running out.

As LK Advani and Jaswant Singh met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before his appeal to show that the Centre is also supporting a peace deal, senior leaders Gopinath Munde and Ananth Kumar were rushed to Jaipur to assist Raje.

Disposal of the bodies of persons killed in police firing four days ago remained the prime task, the central leaders told Raje while asking her to settle the issue of compensation for the next of kin before the issue of ST status could be discussed.

BJP President Rajnath Singh urged Raje to take a "compassionate view" to end the impasse over the quantum of compensation for the victims.

The decision to call on the prime minister was taken at a meeting held at the residence of AB Vajpayee. The BJP leaders drove down to 7, Race Course Road, a day after the prime minister spoke to Vajpayee about unrest in Rajasthan, BJP leaders said.

Rajnath ruled out the possibility of replacement of the chief minister whose handling of the crisis had been flayed by Jaswant Singh and Saheb Singh Verma. He also rebutted news reports that the party's top brass had summoned Raje to Delhi.

"The priority now is restoration of peace. The chief minister is in constant touch with us and talks with different groups are on," he said.

Asked if Jaswant Singh had sought the removal of Raje, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad echoed Rajnath. As a BJP leader put it, "her critics, whether in Delhi or in Rajasthan, certainly would want that she should be removed as chief minister now. But the explosive situation in the state does not allow that any such step rightaway."

In any case, the BJP leaders would have to decide in the course of next few days – once the peace is restored – whether Raje can lead the government and the party into the next elections a year away, said another leader.