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Just work, nothing personal

india Updated: Mar 20, 2009 01:47 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
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Arun Jaitley’s visit to Rajnath Singh’s home on Thursday sparked off a buzz about a truce between the two, and hope that the crisis in the BJP was over.

The two leaders, who discussed the list of candidates for Delhi and Bihar, steered clear from the topic of Sudhanshu Mittal, the Delhi-based businessman whose appointment by Singh as in-charge of the northeast had led to the rift with Jaitley, the BJP general secretary.

Sources close to the BJP chief said he viewed Jaitley’s gesture positively and may reciprocate by signaling to Mittal to “recluse” himself for the sake of the party. “After all, Jaitley has shown that he does not stand on prestige and doesn’t want the party’s image or interests to suffer,” they said.

The sources read as ‘gesture’ Jaitley’s agreeing to Vijay Goel — a Singh favourite — being fielded from New Delhi instead of Mayor Arti Mehra.

He also okayed Kirti Azad’s name from Bihar’s Darbhanga seat in place of Sanjay Jha, who was his choice.

Jaitley appeared upbeat following a statement by the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) denying that they had ever dealt with or used Mittal to work out its alliance with the BJP — let alone pressing for his appointment as an interlocuter. Mittal’s appointment had been justified on this very ground.

AGP general secretary Hitendra Nath Gowswami was quoted as saying: “Mittal accompanied Sushma Swaraj in meetings with us and she introduced him as a member of the party. That’s all. We had never met or contacted him after that.”

Mittal, who’s in Guwahati, his first visit to Assam since his appointment, said: “I have been given responsibility and that is why I am here. I have been involved with the northeast region since my student days when I came here in support of the Assam agitation.”

Uma calls on Advani

BJP rebel Uma Bharati called on LK Advani at his home on Thursday, a day after she said she wanted to campaign for him and see him becoming the Prime Minister.

“It was like a daughter going back to her father’s home,” said the Bharatiya Janshakti Party leader.

Bharati, however, clarified that will not go back to the BJP although she would like to campaign for Advani.