The blame game in the BJP over the poll defeat has gained momentum. Chief Rajnath Singh ended appointments of several leaders, including Delhi businessman Sudhanshu Mittal, whose assignment in Assam drew opposition from party general Arun Jaitely.
Two senior leaders Yashwant Sinha and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi joined in the criticism of the BJP campaign, that was handled by Arun Jaitley.
“The responsibility of those who managed the campaign from the central level to the states will have to be looked at,” said Sinha, a comment that was seen as hitting at Jaitley.
On May 17, Murli Manohar Joshi had held a similar view, saying the campaign had failed to reach the grassroots.
Asked in a TV interview if he was referring to Jaitley, Sinha said a particular name should not be mentioned as it pertained to a “whole lot of people” responsible for the campaign.
“Ultimately, the entire party will have to take responsibility...The people who managed campaigning will take the responsibility. It is not that they will run away,” he told NDTV.
Naqvi, who lost in Rampur, said: “The era of Mandal and Kamandal (OBC reservations and Hindutva) is over. The era of development, which was started in 1999 and continued till 2004 in the regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is the main issue.”
Naqvi did not name Varun Gandhi. But, with his defeat attributed to the latter’s campaign in Pilibhit (which is close to Rampur) it was clear who he had in mind.
Rajnath divested Mittal as well S.S. Ahluwalia, Balbir Punj and Siddharth Nath Singh of their responsibilities as additional spokesperson by announcing dissolution of all committees formed to handle different poll-related issues.
Rajnath had appointed Mittal against the wishes of Jaitley who refused to attend meetings of the BJP’s central election panel. Jaitley will return to his old responsibility as general secretary. He was the chief strategist and head of the election management Committee. Sudheendhra Kulkarni, a close aide of L..K Advani, will also lose his position as he was a key member of the panel.