Shimla set for BJP’s ‘introspection’ meet


Shimla : An entire hotel has been booked, tight security is in place and there are issues galore to be discussed — this Himachal Pradesh capital is all set to host the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) three-day ‘Chintan Baithak’ or introspection meet starting Wednesday.

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The venue for the brainstorming session, which would be attended by top party leaders like L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh, Jaswant Singh and Sushma Swaraj, is Hotel Peterhoff of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.

BJP state unit chief Khimi Ram told IANS Tuesday that all preparations had been made to welcome the central party leaders for the session.

While Advani, Rajnath Singh, Jaswant Singh and Narendra Modi would reach here Tuesday evening, others are expected to reach by Wednesday morning, he said.

Refusing to divulge the issues to be discussed during the meet, Khimi Ram said: “I really don’t have any information in this regard. Our duty is just to make arrangements for the success of the session.”

He said the meeting venue was ideal as it is located in the hub of the city and close to the state assembly building.

“Earlier, the party had decided to hold the session at the Himachal Institute of Public Administration (HIPA) on the outskirts of the town. Later we realised that it is difficult to provide logistic support there and some of the party leaders might face problems while climbing the many stairs at HIPA. So the venue was shifted to Peterhoff,” the BJP state chief said.

Said Vijay Sharma, senior manager of Peterhoff: “We are fully ready to welcome the guests. The entire hotel has been booked for party leaders and other officials accompanying them. The online booking has suspended for the time being.”

Shimla Superintendent of Police R.M. Sharma said most of the leaders are scheduled to land at the Jubbarhatti airport from where they would drive straight to the meeting venue.

“We have made special security arrangements during the visit of the VVIPs in the town,” he said.

A senior party leader said the meeting would look into the causes that led to the party’s recent defeat in the parliamentary elections and its strategy for the forthcoming assembly elections, including those in Haryana, Maharashtra and West Bengal. The defiance shown by Vasundhara Raje over her resignation could also echo at the session.

Over 25 senior party leaders — including members of the parliamentary board and chief ministers Narendra Modi (Gujarat), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Ramesh Pokhriyal (Uttarakhand) and B.S. Yeddyurappa (Karnataka) — will participate in the three-day introspection exercise.

The party’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj has already indicated in New Delhi that former foreign minister Jaswant Singh’s views on Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah would certainly be the subject of a detailed discussion during the Shimla session.

BJP sources said Advani has invited all party legislators from Himachal Pradesh to dinner Tuesday.