Bhopal, Sep 21 (UNI) Accusing senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh of attempting to 'hijack the party agenda' ahead of the BJP National Executive, an influential section of the party today asserted that the issue cannot be decided in a forum where former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not present.
Sought for their reaction, sources close to a top leader opposed to Leader of Opposition L K Advani said Mr Singh's raising the issue ahead of the commencement of the Executive tantamounts to demeaning the agenda set by the party. This only shows 'frustration' of the group which wanted to project Mr Advani as the leader of the party in the next Lok Sabha elections, sources told UNI.
This is only pressure tactics and an attempt to show the party leadership in 'bad light'. "There has been no discussion in the Executive about this issue and it can't be decided in a large forum like the Executive but behind the closed doors where Mr Vajpayee is a participant", sources said. "If you read Mr Atalji's message it is clear, he will be back in the party upon his recovery", sources said.
Earlier, BJP Spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad had maintained that there was no confusion within the party on the leadership issue.
"Atalji and Advaniji are our tallest leaders and the confusion was only in the minds of the media," he maintained.
He, however, chose to avoid an answer on the possibility of the party opting for a third leader other than proclaimed leaders.
Ahead of the meeting, two senior leaders Yashwant Sinha and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi have gone on record to state that the party had not taken any decision on the leadership issue while Mr Advani had claimed that his status as Leader of Opposition in Parliament was that of 'PM in waiting'.