Senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu has disapproved the criticism of party veteran L.K. Advani by the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Mr. Naidu said Mr. Advani was a very tall and respected leader of the BJP. So much so, many people in the party like himself (Mr. Naidu) and Mr. Yeddyurappa too had grown under Mr. Advani’s leadership, he said, denouncing the former Chief Minister for his outbursts against Mr. Advani.

Mr. Naidu said political differences among party leaders need not be aired publicly, and added that Mr. Yeddyurappa should bear in mind the stature of people like Mr. Advani before making such statements.

Referring to Mr. Yeddyurappa’s charge that party’s national general secretary Ananth Kumar had made money during the sale of Hotel Ashok in Bangalore at the time of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule at the Centre, Mr. Naidu said the star hotel was not sold by Mr. Ananth Kumar but by the Disinvestment Ministry.

‘Due importance given’

Mr. Naidu sought to emphasise that the BJP had given Mr. Yeddyurappa due importance as well as high posts. However, to continue in the party or sever ties with it was left entirely to the former Chief Minister, Mr. Naidu said.

Even if Mr. Yeddyurappa quits the BJP, Mr. Naidu said he was confident that people would remain steadfast with the party’s ideology. Even if the former Chief Minister parts ways with the BJP, people of the State and party workers would bring back the BJP to power in the State as well as the Centre, he said.

‘Big loss’

Mr. Naidu described the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray as a big loss to the BJP. The Shiv Sena had been a trusted ally of the BJP for a long time and Mr. Thackeray’s death was a “big loss” to the party, he said.

Mr. Naidu recalled that Mr. Thackeray did not aspire to become the Chief Minister even after the Shiv Sena-BJP combine romped to power in Maharashtra in 1995.

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