Report blames bigwigs for BJP poll rout

Jaitley denies existence of document, defends Jaswants expulsion

A worker cleaning a board of BJP's The Shimla brainstorming session has reportedly blamed top leaders, including L K Advani, Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley for not showing “unity of purpose” and unwittingly inducing disarray in the party during the election campaign. Jaitley was the BJP’s chief election manager.

However, Jaitley and BJP chief Rajnath Singh denied existence or the tabling of any internal report prepared by Bal Apte at the three-day chintan baithak on the party’s poll drubbing. He also justified Jaswant Singh’s expulsion from the party.  Addressing a press conference here on the second day of the chintan baithak, Jaitley said: “No such report has been introduced or tabled at the chintan baithak. There is no Bal Apte report or a report of this nature by any BJP leader.”

Jaitley’s denial notwithstanding, the report castigates those who brought Modi to the forefront as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate “midstream” and “defocused” the entire saffron and NDA campaign, sources told Deccan Herald.

During the summer campaign, some party leaders, particularly Arun Shourie, had backed Modi’s candidature as prime minister.

In a more scathing observation, that hits at the heart of the BJP’s leadership structure which prides itself in selfless organisational work, the report points to personal ambitions rising above party interests. This harmed the party’s chances to emerge as a national party with a difference. Factionalism, whisper campaigns and backroom manoeuvrings among the leaders have been highlighted in the report.

 Having delved deep into the factors that caused the party’s defeat, the report is understood to have described the campaign against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “negative” which helped the Congress and harmed the BJP. For a section of the leadership, the report “lacks substance” and touches peripheral issues. “We have to go a long way on the road to self-introspection,” said a senior party leader in Delhi. 

According to reports, the other factors responsible for the BJP’s debacle include highlighting the Varun Gandhi issue, which pushed aside other critical issues, the failure to assess the public mood in Haryana resulting in a virtual walkover to the Congress, the demoralising impact of the poor campaign in Delhi, the failure to capitalise and corner the Congress over the Mumbai terror attacks, and allowing the Congress and the media to corner it on the Kandahar hijack issue.

The findings

* The  report castigates those who pushed Modi to the forefront as PM candidate “midstream”
* It points at factionalism, whisper campaigns and backroom manoeuvring within the party
*The report highlights the “negative” campaign against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
*Failure to motivate the youth, debacle in the Delhi Assembly elections and Varun's hate-speech are the other reasons

 

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