Jaswant issue dominates first day of BJP’s meet


Shimla : Expulsion of veteran leader Jaswant Singh from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dominated the first day’s discussions at the party’s three-day introspection meeting here Wednesday, as top leaders analysed the factors that led to the party’s dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections.

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The chintan baithak (introspection session) began with the party leadership deciding to sack the former foreign minister over his book praising Mohammed Ali Jinnah that was released Monday.

And later as the meet progressed, party sources said Jaswant Singh’s sacking became the key issue of discussion.

Sources said the BJP leaders watched intently as Singh’s press conference, where he spoke in a emotionally choked voice, was being aired live on television.

“The statements of Jaswant Singh after his expulsion from the party was among the main issues discussed. But several other issues were also debated in the meeting,” a senior Himachal Pradesh leader, tasked to oversee the arrangements for the chintan baithak, told IANS. He declined to be named.

Among other issues, the leaders discussed the reasons for the party’s humiliating defeat in the April-May Lok Sabha elections, the leader said, but refused to divulge the details.

“The issue raised by the RSS regarding the need for younger leaders to take charge of the party was also discussed in detail. In this context, the re-organisation of the party structure was debated,” he said.

State BJP chief Khimi Ram, on behalf of the party, only said the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and various internal issues were discussed.

The outcome of the introspection meeting would be made public after the conclusion of the conclave Aug 21, he said.

The venue of the meeting has been converted into a fortress with a posse of police force having been deployed, and no media person is being allowed to enter even the Peterhoff Hotel grounds.

Except Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who came out of the hotel briefly, all leaders remained inside. Modi came out around 6 p.m., went straight to the Mall area of Shimla and spent some time sipping coffee at the historic Indian Coffee House.