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Snubbed by Advani, Raje may have to go

india Updated: Aug 15, 2009 02:21 IST
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Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani, 81, on Friday refused to meet party legislators supporting former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

With this, the chances of Raje, 56, continuing as the leader of opposition in the Rajasthan assembly appear to be diminishing.

Advani seemed inclined to go along with BJP president Rajnath Singh. Singh, 57, is of the view that Raje must step down owning responsibility for the party’s poor showing in the assembly polls and the Lok Sabha. Raje counted on over 50 MLAs supporting her to resist any change – or at least ensure that one of her nominees succeeds her.

Raje is said to have declined to come to Delhi on the plea that she was busy with the Janmashtami celebrations.

Her supporters claimed to have 62 of the 78 BJP MLAs on their side. In the 200-member Assembly, the Congress formed the government with 97 MLAs.

Despite the numbers, Singh seemed convinced that Raje must take the blame for the number of BJP MPs dropping from 23 to four and the party’s tally in the Rajasthan assembly going down from 120 to 78.

In Jaipur, elated by Advani’s decision, BJP leaders began to discuss the names of possible successors.

Raje was expected to resist any move to choose Gulab Chand Kataria, former home minister or Ghanshyam Tiwari, deputy leader in the assembly, to succeed her.