L K Advani and RSS chief meet, no let up in tension

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The meeting between BJP veteran L K Advani and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in the capital Thursday is learnt to have failed to remove the tensions that spilt over 10 days ago when Advani resigned from all party posts after BJP president Rajnath Singh appointed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as chief campaigner for the Lok Sabha elections.

The RSS, however, sought to keep the BJP patriarch engaged, and took the unusual step of issuing a statement after the meeting which promised "further discussions at appropriate time".

"It was opined that several issues need further discussion and exchange of notes at various levels. Same will take place at appropriate time. Shri Bhagwatji also suggested that such useful exchange of views should continue in future also," RSS propaganda chief Manmohan Vaidya said in a press statement issued after the Bhagwat-Advani meeting.

The statement was unusual because the RSS has always maintained that it keeps exchanging notes with leaders of the BJP, but rarely has it issued a press statement after a meeting. Significantly, Thursday's statement stressed that Bhagwat and Advani had discussed the role of movements led by the RSS and BJP, and that the BJP patriarch had "conveyed" his "detailed and candid" views to the RSS chief.

"In a detailed and candid interaction Shri Advaniji conveyed his views on various developments in the country and the role of the party and the broad nationalist movement led by the Sangh," Vaidya's statement said.

Advani's loyalists within the BJP claimed that the statement was a first step in a "process"

which would "culminate into something concrete" well before Lok Sabha elections.

The rival camp argued that the unusual statement by the RSS was Advani's last ditch attempt to "show that he is in touch with the RSS" and to reclaim "some authority" in the party.

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