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Advani resigns as BJP chief

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: June 07, 2005 13:35 IST
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Bharatiya Janata Party president Lal Kishenchand Advani on Tuesday resigned from the party chief's post.

The resignation comes following widespread criticism from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its allied bodies of Advani's recent statement in Pakistan praising Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

Also see: 'Advani insulted 90 crore Hindus'

Hours after the midnight demand of the RSS that he 'review' his Pakistan statements, Advani called Sanjay Joshi, the RSS pointsman in BJP, to his residence on Tuesday morning and handed over to him the resignation letter.

The party made this disclosure in a press statement along with which it released a letter written by Advani to Joshi just before leaving Karachi on Monday. "I have decided to request the party to relieve me of presidentship," the letter said.

"I am sure acceding to my request would be in the best interest of the great cause I have served all my life as also of the party which has given me so much," Advani said in the letter.

Also see: Advaniji, yeh aapne kya kiya, kyon kiya?

Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia, who had attacked Advani describing him as a 'traitor' for his statements in Pakistan, welcomed his resignation, saying it was 'necessary'.

On his return from Karachi on Monday, Advani had said he had just quoted Jinnah's speech in which he had talked about the secular character of Pakistan state.

In his letter to Joshi, Advani maintained that he had not said or done anything in Pakistan which he needed to retract or review. "I have taken this decision after pondering the matter very carefully. And I believe that my visit to Pakistan last week has immensely reinforced the initiatives taken by the National Democratic Alliance government to bring about peace and normalcy with Pakistan. I have not said or done anything in Pakistan which I need to reatract or review," it said.

As news of Advani's resignation spread, top BJP leaders rushed to his residence to persuade him to withdraw his resignation.

Pramod Mahajan, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar and Bal Apte, who were among the first to arrive, did not speak to the media.

Also see: Advani pays homage at Jinnah's mausoleum

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi