Former Union minister Arun Shourie, 67, joined the ranks of dissenting BJP leaders — like Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha — and wrote to party chief Rajnath Singh on Friday, the eve of the party’s conclave.
Like Singh (71) and Sinha (71), Shourie, too, targeted those who managed the BJP’s campaign, particularly Arun Jaitely. It was Jaitely’s appointment as the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha that triggered the current wave of dissent within the saffron party.
The details of Shourie’s letter reached the media as central BJP office-bearers met to finalise the agenda for the two-day BJP national executive, opening on Saturday.
An alarmed Rajnath has appointed 70-year-old Bal Apte, party’s vice president, as the “receiver” of such correspondence to take cognizance of the issues raised by them.
Apte was expected to compile the points raised in the letters before the BJP’s chintan baithak (brainstorming session) in August for a detailed study on why the party lost the Lok Sabha polls.
Rajnath asked Jaswant Singh not to circulate Shourie’s letter or raise the issue. Vinay Katiyar attacked Singh for “running away” from blame.
If this wasn’t enough, BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi asked the leaders not to look for a scapegoat and instead seriously consider what went wrong and who were behind the mood that turned the minority against the BJP.
Naqvi was backed by party colleague Shah Nawaz Hussain.
Referring to Varun Gandhi’s aggressive campaign, which cost the BJP dearly in many seats including Rampur, Naqvi reportedly said, “When the BJP has won 116 seats and finished second in 116 more and everyone had expected Advani to become the PM, who brought the focus to a misinterpreted Hindutva?”
“Did it come from our understanding of Deen Dayal Upadhaya’s Hindutva or from Pilibhit? We need to ask ourselves honestly,” Naqvi appeared to be critical of the BJP leaders including Rajnath who had backed Varun.