Advani, Joshi Raise Banner of Revolt

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Team Advani Demand Accountability From Modi, Amit Shah For Bihar Defeat

NEW DELHI: Knives were out in BJP tonight with veteran leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and two others raising a banner of revolt against the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the wake of Bihar debacle saying that the party has been “emasculated” in the last one year and was being “forced to kow-tow to a handful“.

In the first challenge to Modi since he emerged the undisputed leader of the party and the government in May last year, the veterans including Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha issued a brief but strongly-worded statement that demanded a thorough review of the debacle.

“The principal reason for the latest defeat is the way the party has been emasculated in the last year.

“A through review must be done of the reasons for the defeat as well as of the way the party is being forced to kow-tow to a handful, and how its consensual character has been destroyed,” the statement said.

Before the statement was released from the residence of Joshi, a former BJP president, former union minister Arun Shourie and former RSS ideologue K N Govindacharya were closeted with Joshi.

The statement said the results of the Bihar election showed that no lesson has been learnt from the fiasco in Delhi, where the Aam Aadmi Party trounced BJP by securing 67 of the 70 assembly seats.

“To say that everyone is responsible for the defeat in Bihar is to ensure that no one is held responsible. It shows those who would have appropriated credit if the party had won are bent on shrugging off responsibility for the disastrous showing in Bihar,” it said.

The statement is an apparent dig at the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s defence of the leadership yesterday after the Parliamentary Board’s review of the performance in which he had said “as far as accountability is concerned the party wins collectively and loses collectively“.

He was reacting to a query whether party chief Amit Shah would be held responsible for the defeat.

The statement has been signed by Yashwant Sinha on behalf of the senior leaders.

This demand has also been backed by former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Shanta Kumar.

Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had led the campaign in Bihar from the front by addressing as many as 26 rallies, and reaching out to voters across all phases.

This comes even as the party earlier on Tuesday issued whip on leaders, asking them to refrain from making any statement on the issue.

The whip authorised only the party spokespersons to comment on the issue of Bihar. Sources said that the BJP has decided to take action against those who make remarks on the poll loss.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leaders like Shatrughan Sinha and Bhola Singh gave out statements in the media criticising the party’s strategy in the Bihar polls.

Begusarai MP Bhola Singh had hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party top brass for the debacle saying BJP should not have strayed from the development pitch.

He said that the party should have refrained from raising issues like beef as they did not help its cause. Singh also said that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks on quota made matters worse for the party.

This came a day after BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, and showered praises on the JDU leader. He had termed Nitish Kumar as the tallest leader in Bihar.

Sinha, who has been vocal in criticising the BJP’s strategy in Bihar polls, had said that while he had not done any anti-party activity, he could not stop the party from taking action against him.

On Monday, the BJP had also held a Parliamentary Board meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah over the loss in Bihar. Following the meeting, senior party leader and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that it was the formation of Mahagathbandhan, and not RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s quota remark, behind the poll debacle. Agencies

 

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