Tuesday, Apr 09, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
All former party presidents are entitled to attend the meetings of the office- bearers but Mr. Laxman is not being invited and deliberately kept out. Three months ago, he had written to the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, to say that was the reason he had decided to keep away from the national executive committee meetings.
More recently, when Mr. Laxman's tenure as Rajya Sabha MP came to an end, the party decided not to renominate him and it is being pointed out that a more and more "social imbalance" is being seen in the party, with some sections of the people not able to see the party as their own. Although it was not spelt out, the excuse was naturally that he was an accused in the Tehelka case. However, those close to Mr. Laxman have been pointing out that the Government did not let this come in the way when it wanted a "scheduled caste face'' to counter the effort made by some NGOs at Durban in South Africa to present discrimination based on caste as similar to racism. The Government then decided to send Mr. Laxman as its representative to the Durban meeting. His camp followers also point out that the Tehelka affair did not come in the way of George Fernandes being re-inducted as Defence Minister. Although it is not being stated in so many words, it is being suggested that the party president, Jana Krishnamurthi, did not want Mr. Laxman to attend the meetings of the office-bearers.
While Mr. Laxman did not want to comment on his decision not to attend the Goa executive committee meeting, he did respond when asked about his view on the Gujarat situation. His assessment was similar to that of some other leaders in the party: "the BJP had not suffered as a party in Gujarat as a result of the happenings there, but in the rest of the country its image had been badly dented.''
As for removing the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, his view was that the "matter had become very complicated.''
"If you change the leader (in the State) because you want to change the image it is one thing, but it could not possibly help the party (in Gujarat)". A similar view was expressed by another party leader who went to the extent of hinting at a ''backlash'' or intensification of riots if Mr. Modi were to be removed.
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