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BJP can consider Uma's re-entry: Rajanth

BJP President Rajnath Singh has indicated that the party could consider firebrand leader Uma Bharti's re-entry if she applies for it.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2006 00:06 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh has indicated that the party could consider firebrand leader Uma Bharti's re-entry if she applies for it.

The party's parliamentary board will consider if such a representation is received from her, Rajnath Singh told the BBC's Hindi Service.

Responding to questions from listeners from across the world, he said: "The decision on Uma Bharti was taken at the highest forum, the BJP parliamentary board.

"It was taken well before I became the party president. Now if we receive any application, any representation from Uma Bharti seeking her re-entry, the parliamentary board would definitely consider the issue. Beyond this, I would not like to comment.

"The parliamentary board decision was unanimous to expel her. At times, decisions which appear to be harsh have to be taken, even if we do not like them. While working for a political party, you are bound by certain principles, the Lakshman Rekha which is drawn should not be encroached."

Uma Bharti was expelled for indiscipline in November last year after she organised protests against the party's decision to appoint Shivraj Singh Chouhan as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister.

Rajnath Singh denied there were any differences within the party, particularly among senior leaders such as Pramod Mahajan, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu.

He claimed that all leaders had extended their cooperation to him.

"The media is definitely trying to project differences, where none exist. The proof of this is that I was unanimously elected the president of the party, and today it is difficult to find such an example of collective functioning in any other political party."

The BJP chief denied he would be the party's prime ministerial candidate during the next general elections.

"With Atalji (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) and Advaniji (LK Advani) as our leaders, we do not even imagine that our names would be taken. It is beyond imagination for us that our names be compared with the political statures of Atalji and Advaniji. These two leaders have done so much for the party and public, they are our leaders."

Rajnath Singh said that Advani's controversial remarks on Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah were now a closed chapter. Advani had irked Hindu hardliners with his statements in Karachi in praise of Jinnah.

He also claimed that the BJP was under no pressure from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the party's ideological mentor, in the day-to-day functioning.

"Being a Swayamsevak myself, I can say with confidence that there is no pressure. As a Swayamsewak, when we are faced with a problem, we discuss that with the RSS, in the same manner as we would do with our family and friends.

"But one thing is clear, the RSS never interferes in BJP functioning. We discuss and would continue to discuss matters with the Sangh, but to decide is BJP's work," Rajnath Singh said.

Asked whether the BJP had abandoned issues like construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya and the demands for abrogation of Article 370 and uniform civil code, he said: "The ideology and philosophy with which the BJP was formed, would continue to guide the party. The BJP has not given up any of its basic issues.

"We were running a coalition government at the centre, and coalitions only work with a minimum understanding among the partners. However this does not mean that the party has given up any of its issues."

First Published: Jan 10, 2006 00:06 IST