BJP: Arun Jaitley V/s Rajnath Singh

New Delhi
BJP: Arun Jaitley V/s Rajnath Singh
The standoff in BJP over the appointment of businessman to a crucial party post persisted today with general secretary Arun Jaitley and president Rajnath Singh firmly sticking to their positions.

Jaitley, who had yesterday kept away from a meeting of the Central Election Committee to register his protest over the appointment of "tentwallah" Sudhanshu Mittal, a protege of late Pramod Mahajan, today shared the dais with Singh at the party headquarters where senior leader L K Advani was also present.

Jaitley arrived late for the function but was also the first to leave the venue at the end of it before reporters could shoot questions. He and Singh did not acknowledge each other's presence throughout the function to release the IT Vision document.

Sources close to the eminent lawyer said he would not attend the meetings of the CEC till the appointment of Mittal is revoked. He is said to be of the view that Mittal, who runs a tent and catering business, is responsible for fostering 'five star' culture in the party.

However, party sources said Singh was in no mood to relent on the issue of Mittal's appointment as co-convener of the party in the Northeast. Mittal is said to have been instrumental in bringing around the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) for a seat-sharing arrangement in Assam.

Mittal, who had responded to attacks from Jaitley's camp that he had a reputation of a wheeler-dealer, had hit back, saying if "failed lawyers" could be part of politics why businessmen like him could not be in it.

Today, he said he did not think that Jaitley was opposing his appointment. "I think it is an imaginary controversy. I have gone through everything and I don't think anybody has ever said anything. It is just being assumed that there are factors which are not true," Mittal said.

He said he has been in politics for the last 30 years and he had been doing micro management in the party in relation to many states at the national level.

In Bangalore, senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu confirmed that Jaitley "had raised an issue" but sought to downplay it, saying it was being sorted out.
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