New Delhi: Former BJP President M Venkaiah
Naidu has said the party will not contest the next Lok Sabha
elections under the leadership of L K Advani and agreed that
it would be logical for the party to get a new leadership at
"Advani is not going to contest the next elections. We
are not going to fight the next elections under his
leadership. Next general elections are going to happen when...
you know (2014)," Naidu told a TV channel.
He was replying to a question on whether BJP would
contest the next general elections under Advani`s leadership,
who would be 87 years old in 2014.
He agreed it sounded logical that in such a scenario
BJP would need a new leader and for this the change of guard
would have to take place couple of years before the polls.
Asked who would be the next leader, Naidu said,
"Political parties discuss issues and then come to conclusions
according to the need of the hour and by consensus".
The Rajya Sabha MP said Advani had been chosen as the
Leader of Opposition by BJP for the 15th Lok Sabha and it
was for him to decide when to step down.
"Whenever he (Advani) wants to make way for others, it
is his choice.Nobody has given him any deadline....," Naidu
Naidu justified the continuation of Advani as head of
the BJP Parliamentary Party, though the latter was "reluctant
to accept" and had to be "persuaded".
"When you lose an election that to for the second
time, there will be certain amount of demoralisation, so we
wanted him (Advani) to guide....The process of leadership
change is a normal process...when he wants to choose a new
leader, it will be announced by Advani," Naidu said.
On the recent controversy created by Advani`s
statement that he did not want expulsion of Jaswant Singh,
Naidu said, "Initially, yes, he was opposed to expulsion....
He said in place of expulsion can we think of any other
However, Naidu maintained the final decision was
unanimous. "Jaswant Singh`s book contains many objectionable
references," he said, adding that everybody in the meeting
agreed action had to be taken and Advani, being a "democratic
Naidu said the decision to expel Jaswant Singh was a
"painful decision" as he had been with the party for 25-30
years but there was no other way.
The veteran leader said Advani had not "suffered any
image loss at all" in the last few months which have witnessed
several controversies within the BJP.
On Arun Shourie`s recent outburst against Advani and
party president Rajnath Singh, Naidu hinted action may be
taken after the forthcoming assembly polls while he was
confident Vasundhara Raje would abide by party decision.