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Venkaiah Naidu meets RSS chief

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI SEPT. 25 .The Bharatiya Janata Party president, Venkaiah Naidu, met the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief, K.S. Sudershan, for about 30 minutes this evening to discuss the developments in the party following the Rae Bareli court order in the Babri Masjid demolition case and the consequent resignation of the Human Resource Development Minister, Murli Manohar Joshi, from the Union Cabinet.

Last night a similar meeting took place over dinner between Dr. Joshi and Mr. Sudershan.

The RSS spokesperson, Ram Madhav, said that both Mr. Naidu and Dr. Joshi placed their points of view before the RSS chief. "It was conveyed to them that the party has to sort out this matter internally," Mr. Madhav said, reiterating that the RSS would not play a role in this.

As for Mr. Naidu, he said that he regularly meets the Sangh leaders and his meeting Mr. Sudershan today was "nothing unusual. It is not news."

Sources in the BJP said the RSS was more concerned about not allowing internal bickering in the party to cast any shadow over the Ram temple `movement'.

The Sangh has thrown its full weight behind the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's programme from October 15 when `lakhs of Ram bhakts' are expected to gather in Ayodhya. It has also fully backed the VHP demand that the Centre bring in a legislation to resolve the Ayodhya issue by handing over the Central Government acquired land in Ayodhya to the VHP- controlled trust.

The Joshi affair is somewhat connected to this — the party's view is that since it holds the charges in the demolition case to be politically motivated, no one should have resigned, while Dr. Joshi's supporters have argued that by resigning and offering to give up a ministerial berth he has given the `movement' added `moral strength'.

Another view is that perhaps the party overstepped its jurisdiction when it decided no one should resign.

After all, it has argued many times that the appointment of Ministers and acceptance or rejection of their resignations is the Prime Minister's prerogative.

The BJP did not advise the Defence Minister, George Fernandes, to resign after the Tehelka scandal broke out, nor did it advise the Prime Minister to take him back.

It has repeatedly argued that the Prime Minister exercised his prerogative when he decided to take him back and no one had the right to question that.

In yet another case, when a Minister of State at the Centre, Harin Pathak, resigned on being charge sheeted, it was the Prime Minister, not the party, who took his resignation and later reinstated him.

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