Rajnath Singh owns up responsibility for electoral debacle (Lead)

June 20th, 2009 - 3:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh Saturday owned up responsibility for the party’s poor electoral showing and stressed that there was no need to “single out one person” for the debacle.
Singh, whose message was read out by party general secretary Ravi Shankar Prasad, also maintained that the verdict of Election 2009 was not a “nationwide defeat” for the party.

“The people’s verdict in the election was not according to our expectations but I take blame for the poor results. But it is not right to say that is a nationwide defeat,” Singh said in his opening remarks at the BJP’s two-day national executive - its first meeting after the Lok Sabha results.

Deflecting criticism against the party’s key poll strategist Arun Jaitley, who was absent from the crucial meet, Singh said: “The BJP believes in collective responsibility for victory and defeat and there is no need to single out one person for the poor showing.”

However, Singh maintained that there would be no compromise on ideology and added that the party would not regret the issues raised during campaigning like communal reservations as they were in the “country’s welfare”.

The BJP got 116 seats in the Lok Sabha elections - down from the 138 in 2004.

Prasad, addressing a press conference, said the election result was not a referendum on the BJP’s concept of Hindutva as it had won seats in many places.

“In some places we did perform well, at some places we did not perform as expected, and in some other places we performed badly. But the message is clear that India is heading towards a bi-polar polity,” he said.

“Hindutva is eternal, liberal, tolerant and a geo-cultural concept. It also represents the basic character of India,” Prasad said, adding that the party feels that it was not able to “articulate it properly and we need to interpret it in a contemporary idiom.”

The party leadership is meeting up for the first time after its poll debacle where it has to not only contain internal strife but also assess its poor electoral performance and look for ways to revive cadre morale.

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