BJP’s soul-searching meet begins Saturday


New Delhi : There will be key absentees even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) holds its first high-level assessment of its election defeat and looks for ways to revive cadre morale at the two-day national executive meeting that begins here Saturday.

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“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.

Ever since the results, the BJP, which is the second largest party in the Lok Sabha, has been gripped with internal strife. Signs of it were evident well before the the polls but the loss has only aggravated it.

The party’s key strategist for the elections, Arun Jaitley, who quit as national general secretary recently and has been in the firing line, will not attend the crucial conference as he is holidaying abroad. Former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, who resigned all his posts, will also be absent.

Jaitley has already resigned as general secretary in keeping with the one-man one-post principle, which insiders say is actually an attempt to thwart him being targeted during the national executive.

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.”

The BJP came down crashing to 116 seats in the Lok Sabha elections from 138 in 2004, while it was actually hoping to improve on its performance.

Both Sinha and Jaswant Singh have already spoken of the need to fix blame for the election results as well as pressing for re-constitution of the party.

Amid the internal troubles and the poll outcome, modalities for organisational elections that are due this year will also be discussed, says Naqvi. BJP president Rajnath Singh’s term gets over this December and he has said he will not like to continue.

Even as the party resolves the leadership struggle among its national leaders, some of its state units are facing a crisis with former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari revolting against the state chief minister B.C. Khanduri.

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

Naqvi also pointed out that the national executive would also dwell on the party’s future programmes from the viewpoint of “organisation, ideology and social expansion.”