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Vajpayee gives in to mom in distress

Atal was unhappy with BJP's statements on Rahul issue, writes Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2006 15:26 IST

Did former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee come out in defence of Rahul Mahajan after his mother, Rekha, spoke to him seeking his help?

Though no confirmation is available, the buzz in the BJP is that she did.

Vajpayee was said to be unhappy with statements from BJP leaders like Sushma Swaraj that the party had nothing to do with it. He wanted that the party should not be seen deserting the family during this hour.

Vajpayee chose to respond from Manali where he is on vacation. Some BJP leaders felt that Vajpayee took a "humanistic" view of the sordid episode but thought his view should not be contradicted.

But a majority of BJP leaders were unhappy that Maharashtra leader Gopinath Munde alleged a "conspiracy" in the episode when evidences pointed to a drug overdose. Some were of the view that Rahul should confess his guilt and seek rehabilitation under medical guidance.

Neither Munde nor the family wanted Rahul to do so. Rather, they want to fight the case against Rahul, who is charged under Sections 21, 25, 27 and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. If proved guilty, he can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in jail. Rebel leader Uma Bharti said the BJP workers were ashamed of Vajpayee's statement.

First Published: Jun 07, 2006 00:00 IST