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BJP meet ends, worries remain

The BJP on Friday wrapped up its chintan baithak (introspection meet), giving little indication that 24 key leaders discussed threadbare all the ills plaguing the party and causing its debacle in the Lok Sabha elections.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2009 00:54 IST

The BJP on Friday wrapped up its

chintan baithak

(introspection meet), giving little indication that 24 key leaders discussed threadbare all the ills plaguing the party and causing its debacle in the Lok Sabha elections.

Barring the expulsion of senior leader Jaswant Singh for his book on Mohammed Ali Jinnah, which sent a message of zero-tolerance for dissidence and ideological deviation, it was not clear whether the top leaders discussed issues such as succession, suggested by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat or fixing of accountability on any leader for the defeat.

Bhagwat had set a generational change in the BJP as one of the issues for discussion at the meet, saying that the BJP’s parent body favoured younger leaders taking over gradually.

There were two press conferences — one by BJP chief Rajnath Singh and another by Sushma Swaraj — to give the media a sense of what went on for three days at Hotel Peterhoff.

Responding to a question at a press conference after the session was over, Singh said Advani “is our leader and will remain our leader for another 50-100 years”. On accountability for the defeat, he said, “no one (person) is responsible. If anybody can be held accountable it is Rajnath Singh as party president.”

Asked if action would be taken against leaders like Yaswhant Sinha and Arun Shourie who have aired their critical views publicly, Singh said, “What I have done, you have seen it. There will be no compromise on discipline.”

He parried queries about the main factors for the BJP’s defeat in the polls on the pretext that “all the details cannot be made public’’.

But, as music to the ears of RSS leaders, Singh said, “Our ideology is non-negotiable” and that the party’s general secretaries would chalk out a plan of action which would include conveying the party’s ideology to he masses in a “simple way”.

Singh had scheduled his press conference at 2 p.m. but Sushma Swaraj addressed the media before him, saying she was directed by L.K. Advani to brief the media on his concluding remarks.

She said Advani shared his concern with the leaders that the BJP had slid in the last two elections and wanted it analysed with all seriousness.

She also aired Advani’s views on Jaswant Singh’s expulsion, which he said was “painful but necessary” since he wrote against the BJP's ideology.

Advani wanted the National Democratic Alliance to be strengthened as part of the BJP’s coalition politics to counter the Congress’s “hegemony”.

Singh said after considering the suggestions of senior leaders, he and the general secretaries would draw a “Road Ahead’’ plan to be adopted at the national executive meeting of the party to be held in September or October.