[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Advani to step down as BJP leader
LK Advani with Shaukat Aziz in the prime minister's house, Islamabad
Mr Advani's visit to Pakistan sparked controversy back home
Indian opposition leader LK Advani says he will step down as president of his Bharatiya Janata Party in December.

It is not clear if he plans to retain his post as opposition leader.

Mr Advani has been under pressure from hardliners within his party and other right-wing groups allied to the BJP since his visit to Pakistan this year.

They were angered by comments he made about Pakistan's founder father, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, during his trip to that country.

Mr Advani made the announcement of his decision to quit in a party conclave in the southern Indian city of Madras, reports say.

Some senior party leaders as well as the party's sister concern, the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had insisted that Mr Advani gives up one of the two posts he holds.

The RSS is considered the ideological fountainhead of the BJP.

Jinnah furore

Analysts say tension began after the recent visit by Mr Advani to Pakistan during which he described Jinnah as secular.

The comment angered many political leaders in India, particularly the RSS, as they view Jinnah as the man responsible for dividing India along religious lines.

Mr Advani had been considered one of the more hardline members of the BJP.

He had offered to resign but withdrew the resignation after receiving support from former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and other senior leaders.

An Indian high court recently ordered Mr Advani to stand trial for his role in the demolition of a mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya in 1992, which sparked religious riots across India.

He is accused of inciting Hindu zealots - a charge he denies.





SEE ALSO:
Vajpayee backs beleaguered Advani
17 Jul 05 |  South Asia
BJP denies Advani pressed to quit
12 Jul 05 |  South Asia
Is the BJP's leader a lame duck?
10 Jun 05 |  South Asia
BJP's Advani offers resignation
07 Jun 05 |  South Asia
'Demolition man' to build bridges
31 May 05 |  South Asia


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific