Vajpayee asks Gujarat dissidents to meet Advani

Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI: The "replace Narendra Modi" demand of a sizeable section of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat was on Thursday carried to the residence of the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, when the former Chief Minister, Keshubhai Patel, leading the dissident group, met him on Thursday along with other senior Gujarat leaders of the BJP.

Although the central BJP leadership has already given broad hints that there was no question of replacing Chief Minister Narendra Modi, those leading the revolt have said that "this time" they will not be satisfied with mere promises of change in the style of functioning of Mr. Modi. "Is baar zaroor koi faisla hoga (this time definitely there will be a decision)," former Union Minister Kashiram Rana, who accompanied Mr. Patel, said.

"Strong exception"

Yet another former Chief Minister Suresh Mehta was with Mr. Patel when he met Mr. Vajpayee. Also present was BJP leader in the Rajya Sabha, Jaswant Singh. Separately, the Gujarat leaders also met party vice-president Venkaiah Naidu.

After the meeting, Mr. Patel said he took strong exception to a reported remark by general secretary in-charge of Gujarat affairs, Om Mathur, that those raising the banner of revolt could face disciplinary action.

Mr. Patel said that he and those with him had done nothing to violate party discipline. They had taken their grievances to senior party leaders.