Taking responsibility for BJP's poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections, its Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani on Saturday offered not to be the party leader in the new House which was, however, rejected.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, BJP General Secretary Arun Jaitley said Advani proposed at the meeting of the party's Parliamentary Board, which discussed the outcome, that a new leader be elected to lead the party in the Lok Sabha. (Listen to podcast: Part 1, Part 2)
"However, the Board asked him to continue to guide the party," Jaitley said adding that party President Rajnath Singh has been authorised to talk to Advani not to press for his demand.
Accepting defeat of the party, he said, "Though no party or a combination has got a clear majority, the BJP believes that the UPA has the best mandate to rule." He said the BJP's defeat was the "collective" responsibility of the party.
"It is not outright rejection of NDA's policies as we have done exceedingly well in some states while below expectations in others," he said.
Comparing the latest tally with last Lok Sabha polls, Jaitley said, "Last time, we were at 138, we remained 15-20 seats behind but this time NDA, which fought election without its two major allies- TDP and BJD, still managed to get over 160 seats."