Former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee wrapped up the three-day BJP conclave in Dehradun on Saturday, saying he was happy that younger BJP leaders were doing well but was not amused by the talk that the older ones had retired or become redundant.
In his first direct response to the talk within the BJP about the ageing leadership of Vajpayee and LK Advani and the urgent need to find new leadership before the 2009 polls, Vajpayee said, “There is a difference between old things and people. Things are thrown away when they become old, but the elder people are not cast away. Their role remains important.”
Vajpayee added, "I cannot say about Advani who is still doing so much for the party. At least, I am not able to do as much as before because of my age."
Turning to BJP president Rajnath Singh, Vajpayee said, "You are doing a good job. You have got lot of things done. The BJP is moving ahead under your leadership."
An elated Singh, who has three months to go before he makes a bid to be the chief for next three years, said, "Sir, you have done so much and doing much more. We often wonder whether we can work so much."
BJP's organisation polls are underway. Vajpayee's remarks were read as disapproving the debate about the succession question by casting aspersions on the ability of the older leaders. Secondly, that Vajpayee still considered Singh doing his best.
The three-day conclave ended with a resolution that said the blasts in Malegaon were an illustration of terrorist activism coupled with governmental incompetence.