BJP holds crucial national executive meeting


New Delhi : Battling internal strife, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) began a two-day national executive meeting here Saturday to assess its poor electoral performance and look for ways to revive cadre morale.

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Senior BJP leader and former union minister Murli Manohar Joshi, asked by reporters what the party was planning at the meeting, said the BJP is “trying to analyse the reasons” for the Lok Sabha defeat.

“It has not reached a final conclusion. The reasons will be placed before a committee and we will get to know about it,” Joshi told a television channel ahead of the meeting.

Asked if the party would go ahead with its Hindutva ideology now, Joshi said the BJP would not compromise with ideology. “As far as the party is concerned, there will be no compromise with ideology… only how to express it so that it is acceptable to all (will be deliberated),” the senior leader said.

The BJP got 116 seats in the Lok Sabha elections – down from the 138 in 2004. It had been hoping to improve on its performance this time.

Ever since the results, the BJP, which is the second largest party in the Lok Sabha, has been gripped with internal strife.

On Friday, senior party leader Arun Shourie joined the growing list of those voicing discontent with the party’s functioning. Shourie reportedly wrote to Rajnath Singh demanding a debate on the poor election results and the way the party is being run.

“He has demanded a transparent and serious discussion on the election debacle, and has asked why such a discussion is not taking place. He has also said that the BJP is in the hands of conspirators who are destroying the party,” a BJP source said.

Arun Jaitley, who quit as national general secretary recently, has been in the firing line. He will not attend the conference as he is holidaying abroad, a party source said. Former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, who resigned all his posts, including as national vice president, will also be absent.

Jaitley has already resigned as general secretary in keeping with the one-man one-post principle.

Many expect the meet to be a stormy affair with several leaders sure to demand that responsibility be fixed for the poll debacle.

“We need to reinvent ourselves as well especially if the party is to regain public confidence. And for that we have to chart out a clear roadmap,” a senior party functionary told IANS on conditions of anonymity.

“There needs to be direction if we are to be a relevant political party.”

Both Sinha and Jaswant Singh have spoken of the need to fix blame for the election results and also pressed for re-constitution of the party.

The modalities for the organisational elections that are due this year will also be discussed. BJP president Rajnath Singh’s term gets over in December and he has said he will not like to continue.

Some of the BJP state units are facing a crisis. Former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari has revolted against state Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri. The party came a cropper in the Lok Sabha elections from the state.

Koshiyari resigned as Rajya Sabha member Wednesday to press for his demand for the ouster of Khanduri.

“The meeting is definitely important for it is being held in the aftermath of the elections. There will be state-wise reporting to examine where we went wrong and also a review of the poll results,” party vice-president and spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS.