Spotlight on LK Advani at Chennai meet
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Spotlight on LK Advani at Chennai meet

Though the purpose of the meet is to review party policies, the focus will be on the BJP President, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2005 14:04 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer

All eyes will be on BJP chief LK Advani at the three-day party conclave starting from Friday.

Though the purpose of the meet is to review party policies, ideology and poll strategy, the focus will be on Advani as he will face the gathering of top BJP leaders for the first time since his remark on M.A. Jinnah saw the RSS declare a war on his leadership.

As it comes only four days after a standoff between him and A.B. Vajpayee over the expulsion of Madan Lal Khurana, there is more interest among BJP leaders as to what Advani proposes to indicate about his future as well as that of the party.

BJP insiders, however, believe Advani may not say much about his future because of the coming round of Assembly elections.

But he is certain to ventilate what he has felt since the Jinnah controversy, dissidence in Gujarat, Jharkhand and MP and what needs to be done to revive the BJP.

Those members of the party national executive who are unhappy with Advani's style of functioning are expected to take the opportunity to give their side of the story. With many RSS leaders upset and divided and the VHP breathing fire, the conclave could turn out to be a testing time for Advani.

At least, three resolutions will be adopted — one on the country's political scenario, the second on the plight of farmers and the third on internal security. But the main attempt will be to show that the BJP is united to play the role of the main Opposition.

Vajpayee and Advani are also expected to address a joint rally on Saturday. Vajpayee will deliver the valedictory address on Sunday, which will be followed by a meeting of party's state unit presidents and general secretaries. All the chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and legislature party leaders and MPs would participate in the meet.

This is the third time in the 25 years of the BJP, that the party is holding a major national-level conference in Chennai.

The first was the party's national executive meeting in 1990, when the BJP was supporting V.P. Singh's National Front government from outside. The next was the BJP's national council meeting in December 1999. The Kandahar hijacking overshadowed that conclave and saw sharp differences within the Vajpayee government.

But, the BJP managed to come out with its 'Chennai Declaration', in which the party put issues like Ram Mandir on the backburner.

First Published: Sep 16, 2005 00:32 IST