If Jaswant Singh’s summary expulsion from the BJP was supposed to end factionalism and put all rebels on notice, the story of a note supposed to have been prepared by BJP vice-president Bal Apte showed that things are far from over.
The note, which made its way to TV channels, claimed many BJP leaders had faulted the campaign to show L.K. Advani as a strong prime ministerial candidate, criticism of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a weak leader, the sudden emergence in the media of Narendra Modi as the party’s PM candidate and Varun Gandhi’s hate campaign.
These are not new findings; the issues were raised by rebel leaders Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie at the party’s internal meetings. They had targeted Arun Jaitley, who was in charge of the campaign, and were upset that Advani had appointed him Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, ignoring their claim.
It is a fact that BJP chief Rajnath Singh announced a panel under Apte, which included Chandan Mitra and Murlidhar Rao, to collate findings of the team that was sent to the states to get feedback on the BJP’s defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. Later, the panel was supposed to put the “observations” of the teams in a note format. BJP insiders said a document was prepared but not circulated to other leaders.
The note did not directly name Jaitley but it focused on the campaign mistakes
The “note” cited the “perceived lack of unity among the leaders” and “internal sqabbles” of the BJP as being among other causes of the failure of the party to dislodge the UPA.
Excerpts from the 9-page ‘note’
* “Personal attack on Manmohan Singh did not go down well with the people”
* “Mid-campaign distractions like projection of Narendra Modi as PM, Varun Gandhi controversy and reported internal squabbles within the party took centrestage and pushed aside the main campaign”
* “The BJP's election slogan of ‘Mazboot Neta, Nirnayak Sarkar’ (strong leader, decisive government) didn’t work.