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Maneka under fire at BJP meet

delhi Updated: Jun 22, 2009 01:08 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
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The second and final day of the BJP conclave on Sunday wasn’t exactly a smooth affair for dissenters like Jaswant Singh (71), Arun Shourie (67) and Maneka Gandhi (52), who targetted BJP’s campaign managers like Arun Jaitley on the opening day.

Not only LK Advani (81), ignored their criticism of his decision to appoint Jaitely as Rajya Sabha leader despite the poll debacle, he also began his valedictory address by congratulating those he had chosen as the new parliamentary party office bearers.

Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said the conclave rejected party chief Rajnath Singh’s offer to own up responsibility for the defeat, saying the party saw “victory and defeat” as a collective responsibility.

But, before the BJP’s national executive adopted a resolution by Ravi Shankar Prasad (54) against extreme views and for a softer Hindutva as the BJP’s core policy, it was a war of words.

Maneka Gandhi was locked in heated exchanges with Shahnawaz Hussain (42), and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (51) in the backdrop of their criticism of the hate speeches of her son, Varun. Maneka accused Hussain was leaking internal issues to the media while Naqvi defended him.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and BJP general secretary Gopinath Munde argued in favour of adopting all-inclusive approach by the BJP for a revival of the party.

They said in unison, “we need all voters, including Muslims and the way forward is to do a solid job for the poor and show development.”

Reacting to Maneka’s assertion a day earlier that the Muslims did not vote for the BJP in any case, Munde said, “It is wrong for the BJP to take the stand that, because people from a particular community do not vote for us, they could be ignored.”