New Delhi, Oct 26: The BJP today sought to play down the absence of senior leader L K Advani at the crucial Office Bearers meeting, when one group sees as ''an expression of his anger'' against the way things are going on within the party.
The Office Bearers meeting, which takes place once in every 45 days, is usually fixed well in advance and Mr Advani could not take part in this event because of the 'delayed' arrival of visiting Maldives Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed at his residence to his residence.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and senior leaders Murli Manohar Joshi attended the meeting presided over by party President Rajnath Singh.
In this meeting, the office bearers were introduced to the newly inducted Organising Secretaries, drawn from the RSS Pracharaks. Mr Advani absence is being seen as a 'snub' to the RSS too.
"This wedge within the party is going to become wider when the party is to select/elect its new national President at a time when the party is reconciled to reelect Mr Singh for one more term as President", a party leader not wanting to be quoted said.
The party, on its part said that it was in 'live contact' with Mr Advani, who had sought to be exempted from attending the meeting yesterday itself when he attended the meeting convened on Special Economic Zones panel meeting headed by former BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu. BJP Spokesman Prakash Javadekar said it was not just Mr Advani who was absent but a host of BJP leaders ranging from Party General Secretary Arun Jaitley and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh who were not in the country. BJP Vice President Kalyan Singh, Kalraj Mishra and Vinay Katiyar besides Mrs Sushma Swaraj could not attend the meeting as well.