In BJP blame game, leaders now criticise key strategists

June 10th, 2009 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) The beleaguered Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sank deeper into a crisis Wednesday with its veteran leaders criticising key election strategists for publicly blaming others for the party’s poll debacle.
Reliable sources told IANS that senior leader Jaswant Singh, who has written a letter to BJP president Rajnath Singh about the blame game, asserted again at a meeting of the party’s core group that it would be difficult to run the organisation if the poll managers themselves were now washing dirty linen through articles in the media.

However, Rajnath Singh told reporters that the meeting was “not to discuss election results but the future course of the party”.

Asked if Jaswant Singh was angry during the meeting, Rajnath Singh termed it “baseless” speculation and wound up his car’s window pane.

Jaswant Singh was referring to an article in the Tehelka news magazine by Sudheendra Kulkarni, a key aide of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani, which has created a flutter. Among other things, Kulkarni urged the party and its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to introspect.

Kulkarni, a key poll strategist for the party, has blamed the BJP leadership and the RSS for the debacle in the elections and said they made Advani “look weak, helpless and not fully in command”.

Jaswant Singh also pointed at the writings of party general secretary Arun Jaitley, who was the BJP’s chief poll manager.

BJP vice president and Rajya Sabha member Pyarelal Khandelwal also wrote to Rajnath Singh last week wondering how the party named Advani as the party leader in the Lok Sabha - and thus Leader of Opposition in the house - without convening a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board.

Officially, the party Wednesday maintained its line that the reasons for the election debacle would be discussed at its national executive meeting June 20-21.

BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: “There is no one single reason… everything will be discussed threadbare in the national executive.”

According to the sources, former central minister Arun Shourie has asserted at a party meeting that Kulkarni and Jaitley were both key election strategists and it was ironical for them to find fault with the campaign.

Shourie had created a stir by terming Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi a future prime ministerial candidate right when the five-phase elections were underway with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) projecting Advani as the prime minister if it won.

Kulkarni has also referred to this in his article in the latest issue of Tehelka.

While Kulkarni urged the party to introspect, he said the “the RSS needs it no less. Its leaders must ask themselves, and answer the question honestly and earnestly. Why is the acceptability of the RSS and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad limited in Hindu society itself?”

He said the party “did nothing” while its allies started moving away because of the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat.

Jaitley wrote in the Indian Express newspaper May 27: “The prime minister’s own image created a sense of sympathy, that a man who wanted to deliver was being obstructed from proceeding further.”

The chief theme of the BJP’s election campaign was criticism of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, terming him weak and subservient to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

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