New Delhi: Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and chief minister of Delhi Madan Lal Khurana returned to the party fold on Friday after he withdrew the remarks he made against BJP leader LK Advani two years ago.
The party high command had expelled Khurana, 71, because he made public his differences with Advani on the 1999 Kandahar hijack crisis. Since then tempers have cooled.
BJP president Rajnath Singh on Friday welcomed Khurana into the party.
REUNITED: BJP president Rajnath Singh on Friday welcomed Khurana (in pix) into the party.
This new development, negotiations for which were in the works for the past few weeks, is significant in the light of the forthcoming Delhi Assembly elections scheduled for November this year. Khurana is a popular leader among Punjabis.
He was chief minister of Delhi between 1993-1996, when he was forced to quit over the hawala (transfer of money abroad through unofficial channels) scandal.
Later, he served as governor of Rajasthan between January to October 2004.
Interestingly, Khurana's re-induction into the BJP comes at a time when the spotlight has once again zeroed in on Advani on the Kandahar issue.
In 2006, he had criticised the then BJP president LK Advani on the latter's remarks on IC-814 hijack.
Advani had said that he was not pleased with the decision to release the three Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists in order to get back the 160 passengers on board.
Assailing this remark, Khurana said Advani was heaping all the blame on prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the controversial decision and trying to take credit for all the right measures of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
Advani was the home minister in the NDA government when the Kandahar incident occurred.
After his expulsion, Khurana joined BJP dissident Uma Bharati's Bharatiya Janshakti Party (BJS) only to leave it soon following some differences between them.
BJP sources said Khurana has not been given any post in the party. Some leaders of the BJP's Delhi unit are still opposed to his re-entry.