Let’s bury hatchet and aim for assembly polls: BJP (Roundup)June 21st, 2009 - 9:00 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) crucial soul searching session concluded Sunday with a firm message to party workers to bury the hatchet and brace up for assembly elections in three states, while veteran leader L.K. Advani called for promoting young leaders and reiterated its commitment to Hindutva.
Held amid internal strife and blame game, Advani said the two-day national executive meeting was not to “apportion the blame” but get to the bottom of the election outcome and warned partymen against going public with criticism.
The BJP’s tally in the Lok Sabha came down to 116 seats from 138 in 2004.
Asking his colleagues not to be dejected by the poll performance, he insisted that it was a setback and “not a rout”.
“Where is the question of despondency” he said, while pointing out that the party had emerged as the only alternative to the Congress after the decimation of the third and fourth fronts.
Advani said the party “must win” in at least two of the three states - Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh - going to polls this year and announced that he would himself hit the road to explain party workers the “opportunity and task” at hand.
The meeting also adopted a political resolution where it clarified that Hindutva was “not narrowly confined only to religious practices or expressed in extreme forms”.
“It is, therefore, inclusive representing the finest imprints of our cultural and civilisational ideas. This profound concept is the real inspiration for resurgent India with which the BJP is proud to be associated,” it said.
Advani also made the same point and quoted profusely from the explanations of Hindutva by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders.
He said the party had frankly discussed the results and that the two-day conclave was fruitful.
In an oblique reference to senior leaders Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha who went public with their criticism of the party, Advani said: “The only constraint on the participants in this exercise, which is an important part of the BJP’s culture of discipline, is that they should not air their critical views in public.”
But he had a message for the party leadership as well. He said the soul-searching should be “broadbased” to ensure all sections of the party “at all levels” could put their views across.
Sinha quit all party posts demanding that responsibility should be fixed for the poll debacle.
Singh wondered at the disconnect between “results and rewards” hinting at Arun Jaitley, who was the key poll manager but was promoted as leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha by Advani.
Both had made these observations in letters to party president Rajnath Singh and the contents leaked out to the media, while they spoke of the party’s need to introspect in interviews to journalists.
Advani gave a clear message to the party that he stood by Jaitley and began his speech by congratulating him for becoming the leader of opposition in the upper house as well as Sushma Swaraj as deputy leader of the party in the Lok Sabha.
He asserted that the party’s leadership should “urgently” evolve a system to encourage young leaders at all levels.
“But I have heard many young activists tell me that they are not given opportunity to serve the party more effectively,” said Advani, 81.
He lamented: “It is sad that a certain ‘train compartment mentality’ has got developed within the party, which makes those in leadership positions to ignore promising, talented and committed cadres who are standing ‘outside’ and waiting for the door to open.”
He said this had to change and the party must think into the future.
Advani said: “We must identify, train, groom and empower third, fourth and fifth generation of leaders in the BJP. Our leadership planning should take into account the party’s needs for the next 20 years.”
The veteran leader was concerned that the party was “plateauing” even in its strongholds, while stressing on the need to expand its base in several other big states and strengthening the organisation.
Another area of “serious attention”, Advani said, was the party organisation.
Hinting at the intra-party bickerings, he averred: “The state of the party organisation at all levels, including at the centre, needs to be improved. We have to strengthen unity in thought, unity in planning and unity in execution in leadership tiers at the centre and in states.”
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