New Delhi: Two days after its embarrassing defeat in Bihar, there is an open revolt in the BJP. Relegated to the sidelines, veteran leaders LK Advani , Murli Manohar Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar today launched a scathing attack on the BJP’s top leadership and their management of party affairs.
While the joint statement does not name anyone, it is quite clear who the veterans are pointing at when they say the saffron party has been “emasculated” in the past one year and was being “forced to kowtow to a handful”.
The statement comes a day after the BJP’s top decision-making body — the Parliamentary Board — attributed the grand alliance’s victory to its caste arithmetic and intra-coalition vote transfer, absolving Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat of all responsibilities.
The veterans, while seeking a thorough review of the BJP’s defeat in the Bihar Assembly elections, noted that the party failed to learn lessons from the fiasco in the Delhi Assembly elections.
“To say that everyone is responsible for the defeat in Bihar is to ensure that no one is held responsible. It shows that those who would have appropriated credit if the party had won are bent on shrugging off responsibility for the disastrous showing in Bihar,” the statement said. The principal reason for the latest defeat is the way the party has been emasculated in the past one year, it said.
“A thorough review must be done of the reasons for the defeat as well as of the way the party is being forced to kowtow to a handful, and how its consensual character has been destroyed.
This review must not be done by the very persons who have managed and who have been responsible for the campaign in Bihar,” they said.
While leaders like Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha have been vocal in their criticism of the way BJP was being run under the leadership of Modi and Shah, this is for the first time Joshi and Advani, who were relegated to the sidelines as members of the Margdarshak Mandal after Modi assumed power, have come spoken up in the open.
While it is not clear whether the statement has the blessings of the party’s ideological head RSS, considering that Bhagwat’s “reservation-review” statement is also being called as one of the reasons for the BJP’s failure in Bihar, sources say a statement like this could not have been issued without its knowledge.
Moreover, the fact that Bhagwat was here in Delhi and also met senior leader Rajnath Singh and Shah yesterday points to the fact that he was aware of the simmering discontent and perhaps also tried to preempt the situation. However, the veterans felt that the time to speak out was now or never, it seems.
Though it is too early to comment on the fate of Shah, with the veterans adding to the might of dissenting Bihar MPs like Bhola Singh, Shatrughan Sinha, Hukumdev Narayan Yadav and RK Singh means he is not expected to have a smooth run in party meetings henceforth.