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Differences in BJP over alliances

By Sunil Gatade and Santosh K Joy in Bengaluru
September 12, 2008 22:52 IST
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Ahead of crucial assembly polls in states, three of them ruled by it, the Bharatiya Janata Party national executive meeting to discuss alliances in the next Lok Sabha elections on Friday saw differences cropping up over the proposal to have a tie-up with Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal in Uttar Pradesh.

Senior leader Vinay Katiyar and former chief minister Kalyan Singh stayed away from the meet amidst reports that they were strongly opposed to such an alliance.

Uttar Pradesh BJP President Ramapathi Tripathi said the entire state unit was against any alliance with the Ajit Singh-led RLD.

BJP spokesman Ravi Shanker Prasad told reporters in Begaluru that "if any of the state leaders have any reservation on any issue then it would be discussed at a proper forum, but the final decisions on alliance are always taken by the Central leadership."

"Kalyan Singh is our veteran leader. We all respect him. Any decision he takes after deliberations. We will consult Kalyanji", he said when asked about the absence of the key leaders from Uttar Pradesh.

When contacted, the Delhi office of Katiyar, who is also the general secretary of the party, said he was unable to attend the conclave due to health reasons.

The three-day meet that began on Friday saw the saffron party raking up some of its pet issues and attacked the government over utterances from the US on the Indo-US nuclear deal saying they undermined India's sovereignty.

The meeting also received a message from patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who kept away due due to his ill health, asking the cadre to go the extra mile in seeing that Lal Kishenchand Advani is made the next prime minister.

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Sunil Gatade and Santosh K Joy in Bengaluru
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