The joint letter by BJP veterans did not name either Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP president Amit Shah, but it was very clear who they were targeting for the party’s debacle in the Bihar assembly elections.
The statement signed by Advani, MM Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar released on Tuesday called for a “thorough review” of the reasons for the defeat, but also made it clear that it should not be done by those who managed the campaign. Meaning, that Shah and Modi cannot sit in judgement on why the party got it wrong in Bihar. This is a direct counter to the BJP parliamentary board’s declaration just two days ago of “collective responsibility ”.
In Bihar, the Janata Dal(U)-RJD-Congress’ grand alliance walked away with 178 of the 243 seats, leaving the BJP-led NDA with just 58 despite Modi addressing more than 30 rallies.
There were also references to the allegedly authoritarian styles of the Modi-Shah duo, and how the party has been “emasculated” over the last year -- an indirect crib on how those over 75, including these four veterans, were sidelined.
The “consensual character” of the party was lost and it was being forced to kow-tow to a handful, the elders complained.
Here in five points is what the BJP veterans said in their joint statement.
1. The principal reason for the latest defeat is the way the party has been emasculated in the last year.
2. The results of the Bihar elections show that no lesson has been learnt from the fiasco in Delhi.
3. A thorough review must be done of the reasons for the defeat as well as of the way the Party is being forced to kow-tow to a handful, and how its consensual character has been destroyed.
4. This review must not be done by the very persons who have managed and who have been responsible for the campaign in Bihar.
5. To say that everyone is responsible for the defeat in Bihar is to ensure that no one is held responsible. It shows that those who would have appropriated credit if the Party had won are bent on shrugging off responsibility for the disastrous showing in Bihar.