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BJP disagrees with itself on FDI, Coalgate

All is not well within the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP], with its senior leaders making their differences public on the way leadership has addressed the issues of demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, opposing foreign direct investment [FDI] in retail and increasing price of diesel. The timing of the statement is also crucial, as the national executive of the party is meeting in Surajkund, on the outskirts of the capital, this week to chalk out its future course.

The party veteran Lal Krishna Advani's aggressive public posturing has been countered within the party and, to his embarrassment, the day he chose to quote the senior party leader Arun Shourie to fire salvo at the government's decision on FDI in retail, Shourie decided not to oppose the issue. Advani in his Sunday morning blog had quoted Shourie while trying to put the Congress in the dock. However, by the afternoon, Shourie, while speaking in Bhopal, was defending the prime minister.

Similarly, the leadership has been rattled by the interview given to a news agency by the former Uttarakhand chief minister B C Khanduri, in which he questioned the logic of making a persistent, and somewhat stubborn, demand for the resignation of the prime minister over his alleged role in the allocation of coal blocks. The BJP had stalled the functioning of Parliament during the just-concluded monsoon session, asking Singh to quit office.

Khanduri's comment is being viewed with concern, as following the defeat in the last assembly polls in Uttarakhand by a whisker, the BJP has been hit by one crisis after another. Recently one of its former ministers Matbar Singh Kandari quit the party ahead of the Tehri Lok Sabha bypoll. Earlier, one of its MLAs had quit party and vacated his assembly seat to facilitate the election of chief minister Vijay Bahuguna to state assembly in the resultant bypoll.

The party leadership, on the other hand, is upset with the demand raised by Advani for calling a special session of Parliament after the Trinamool Congress withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance [UPA] government. 'It runs counter to the argument we gave in not agreeing to a debate on Coalgate. We know the government has the numbers and allowing a test on the floor will allow them to wriggle out of a morally disadvantageous situation,' said a senior party leader, insisting that his party would rather wait for  'the UPA to unravel itself and fall under its own weight'.
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