BJP looks to fix responsibility for defeat

By Arun Anand, IANS,

New Delhi : Who will accept the responsibility of the BJP’s stunning electoral defeat? That is the question being asked by angry and humiliated BJP cadres and leaders in wake of the poll results for 15th Lok Sabha.

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It is clear that there were four people at the helm of affairs who led the party in these polls — BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani, BJP chief Rajnath Singh, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley and senior party leader Venkiah Naidu.

All important decisions like candidates, alliances, manifesto and campaign strategy were taken largely by these four leaders and the rest followed the pack. So everyone is clear in the BJP that the blame has to be shared by these four leaders.

However, it is clear that there is no explicit demand from any of the BJP leaders so far to fix responsibility on the top leaders, though several party functionaries are talking about this in hushed tones.

The general mood in the party was summed up by one of the senior leaders who told IANS: “We are currently gripped by the ‘I told you so syndrome’. Everyone is saying we cautioned the party leadership and the so called strategists of our party but they did not listen to us.”

Most of the middle rung leaders in the party conceded that the party stands demoralised today and it would have to go for a complete revemp in terms of leadership, issues, and a new political approach in coming days if it wanted to come out of the abysmal state it is in.

One person, who is a member of the BJP think-tank and played a key role in drafting the manifesto, said: “Now I can say it. Our biggest drawback was Advani.”

It was only after sections in the party realised that Advani’s age would be a drawback for the party that the name of Narendra Modi was floated as prime minister-in-waiting. But it happened a little too late, and the party spoke in two voices on it – as it did on many other issues.

“The question is who will bell the cat. Who can point fingers at the senior leaders. Those who could do so such as Uma Bharati and Kalyan Singh have already been pushed out of the party,” a former state BJP chief told IANS after it became clear that the BJP had slumped to its worst ever performance since early 1990s.

“If we don’t fix the responsibility this time, we may not be able to better our performance. It is time for those who are at the top to take moral responsibility at least, step down and let a new group of leaders lead the party,” a senior party functionary added.