National

Advani, other BJP veterans discuss Azad, leadership issues

New Delhi: Dec 24; Unlike their last meeting on November 10 when they had issued a scathing statement against the party leadership, there was no immediate public comment this time round with sources close to them saying that they will raise their issues at an "opportune" time and forum.

Asked if the issue of suspension of Azad from BJP after he attacked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over alleged corruption in Delhi cricket body came up for discussion, a veteran said, "It should be obvious, considering the background of the meeting."
He, however, declined to divulge any details.

Advani, Kumar and Sinha drove down to Joshi's residence at around noon and were in a huddle for close to an hour. "We met. We had tea,"Kumar said as he left after the meeting, declining to elaborate.

Azad had sought intervention of the 'margdarshak mandal', comprising Advani, Joshi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which was formed by BJP president Amit Shah after he took over the party reins. It has never met since its formation and was criticised as a move to sideline Advani and Joshi.

Sources close to the veterans said they were also not happy with the party's response to their concerns. An impression was given by the leadership that they were reaching out to them but in reality nothing concrete has happened, they said.

The four leaders had launched a sharp attack on the leadership on Diwali eve, saying BJP had been "emasculated" in one year and demanded accountability for its massive loss in the Bihar elections.

Senior party leaders, including Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, had met Advani later. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav had subsequently said the matter was a "closed chapter", suggesting that the party had reached out to them to address their issues.

Cracking the whip yesterday, BJP suspended Azad, who has been leading a campaign against Jaitley on alleged corruption in DDCA, charging him with anti-party activities and accusing him of "colluding" with Congress and AAP to bring it into "disrepute".

The action of the BJP Parliamentary Board to suspend him from the party's primary membership with immediate effect came three days after his press conference attacking Jaitley and subsequent acts of defiance both inside and outside Parliament. 

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