The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday admitted that hate speeches by Varun Gandhi and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's sarcastic remarks on the Congress Party during the campaign were among the reasons for its humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.
A senior party leader, who is in Shimla for a three-day party meeting to introspect on what ails it, told IANS, "The speeches of Modi and Varun Gandhi during the elections were among the reasons for the defeat in the elections." He was referring to the discussions in the closed door meeting.
Modi had made fun of the Congress calling it a 'budhiya (aging woman),' while Varun Gandhi's incendiary speeches against the Muslim community sent shock waves across the country.
The three-day chintan baithak (introspection meeting) of the party that began on Wednesday also discussed threadbare a report of a committee headed by party vice-president Bal Apte, the BJP leader said, wishing anonymity.
"Various reasons for the defeat like personalised attacks on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, lopsided campaigning, projection of weak and shady candidates, and in-fighting among top leaders were discussed in detail," the leader said.
"Failure of the party to motivate the youth, debacle in the Delhi assembly elections and Varun's hate speech were also the reasons for the party's defeat," the leader added.
He said the party's humiliating defeat in Delhi before the parliamentary elections gave wrong signals to the masses.
However, senior party leader Arun Jaitley denied that such a report (by the Apte Committee) existed or was discussed at the session.
"I am categorically stating that I have not seen such a report. Even my friend Ananth Kumar (who was sitting next to him during the press conference) has not seen (the report)," he told reporters in Shimla. He refused to reply to the media's queries on the chintan baithak.
"I am not here to clarify on party's stand against expelled leader Jaswant Singh. The session is to review the general election results and to draw the roadmap for the party," he said.
However, Jaitley said party president Rajnath Singh would brief the media on the concluding day on Friday about the discussions in the introspection meeting.
The three-day session began with summary expulsion of Jaswant Singh, just two days after the release of his controversial book "Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence".