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RSS says no pressure on Advani

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September 18, 2005 17:30 IST

Ram Madhav, spokesperson for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has denied media reports that RSS had built up tremendous pressure on Lal Kishenchand Advani to resign from the presidentship of the Bhartiya Janata Party in its three-day national executive, which concluded on Sunday in Chennai. Advani told the delegates in his presidential address that he would lay down the office during the Mumbai session of the party in the last week of December 2005.

"Let me clarify that there was no pressure on L K Advani from the Sangh to resign," Ram Madhav told newsmen in New Delhi at the RSS headquarters soon after Advani offered to resign.

Asked about the presence of RSS chief K Sudarshan in Chennai which concided with the BJP convention, Ram Madhav said that his presence in the city was merely coincidental.

"Sudarshanji was not even in Chennai when Advani made this statement. He was in Trichur," he claimed. Sudarshan and senior BJP leader Murali Manohar Joshi, who is one of the claimants for the post of the presidentship of the party, had travelled to Chennai by train from Nagar, RSS national headqurters on the eve of the BJP meet.

When asked what he made of Advani's statement on growing interference by the Sangh parivar into day to day running of BJP, he said, "I think the media has got it wrong. What he said was that there is a growing impression outside that the Sangh is interfering in running of the BJP and this impression needs to be corrected by Sangh and BJP. We would definitely have a discussion on his suggestion," he said. RSS' next big convention is likely to be held in the middle of October in Chitrakoot.

Though RSS claims that it would have no role in the election of the new party president but those who have been following RSS activities are not ready to buy this argument.

"Only that candidate who has the backing of the Sangh would become the BJP president," admitted a Sangh functionary during an informal chat with this correspondent.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi