Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Friday cautioned the party’s state media cell functionaries against issues not related to corruption or governance generating controversies and derailing party patriarch LK Advani’s Rath Yatra.
For the first time, the party briefed its state media cells in the presence of the media, obliquely suggesting that any mention of non-yatra issues should be taken as a sign of deviation and not as a split within party ranks.
“We should not speak on non-Yatra issues as the Yatra proceeds, as they can create controversies,” Jaitley said. “The words uttered by each local leader are important. Avoid unnecessary controversy. Take up the decided issues in a disciplined manner. We should never leave our agenda in any political situation. Issues get diverted when we deviate from the main issues.”
He also said if the yatra went well, “it will help strengthen organisation activity wherever the yatra will go”.
Jaitley’s remarks come at a time when the party has repeatedly countenanced its political position getting sidelined and controversy taking centre stage during its events.
Last year, the Patna national executive got washed out over the much publicised snub Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar gave to Narendra Modi.
The announcement of Advani’s Rath Yatra on corruption led to an intense debate on the fissures within the party on the future leadership question rather than on “UPA corruption”.