Senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Friday rejected reports he sought action against the party’s veterans for speaking out on the poor performance in the Bihar elections, even as union minister Venkaiah Naidu suggested the seniors should not have expressed dissent in public.
In a statement, Gadkari said party elders including LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi “are our highly respected leaders and neither I nor any other party functionary has ever shown any disrespect to them and there was absolutely no question of anyone calling for an explanation from them, and not the least, demanding disciplinary action against them.”
“Reports in a section of the media indicating that I have suggested to the party president Amit Shah to initiate disciplinary action against them are absolutely incorrect and misleading,” the union minister said, adding that the party leadership was discussing with the veterans the issues raised by them.
Another former BJP president, Venkaiah Naidu, sent an indirect message to the veterans that they should have raised their concerns within the party.
“Would have been better if these issues were raised in the party forum rather than in public, but we take it seriously nevertheless. Advani ji has immensely contributed to the growth and expansion of the party and we are taking note on everything. I don’t discuss intra-party matters in media as I have been the president of the party before,” Naidu told reporters.
Both reactions come a day after reports said home minister Rajnath Singh was opposed to any action against the veterans. Singh, according to sources, was of the opinion that Advani and Joshi have contributed immensely to the growth of the BJP, and so the party should listen to them.
Naidu pointed out the BJP had lost elections in the past too and that those who were leading the party or the poll campaign then were never blamed.
“Winning and losing happens, we never held any individual or for that matter group of individuals responsible for these defeats. It has never been the culture of the party to blame any individual for the failure of the party. Elections are won and lost as a result of collective effort,” he said.
On Tuesday, two days after the Bihar results, the four Bharatiya Janata Party seniors -- LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha-- sought a thorough review of the BJP’s defeat in the Bihar assembly elections, a move seen as an indirect attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.
“To say that everyone is responsible for the defeat is to ensure that no one is held responsible,” the strongly-worded statement issued by them had said, causing a tumult within the party.
( with agency inputs)