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BJP conclave to discuss UPA's 'failures'

Also a plan to recast the party into a winning force tops the agenda of the national executive starting today. Time for Introspection

india Updated: Sep 16, 2005 14:13 IST

Failures of the ruling coalition, the crisis in its own leadership and a plan to recast the party into a winning electoral force top the agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) three-day national executive that begins in Chennai on Friday.

Over 150 BJP leaders, including party chief LK Advani and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, are expected to attend the conclave, postponed in July after the crisis in the party sparked by Advani's praise of Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi.

"It's not dissidence among the Sangh Parivar but the plight of governance in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that's going to dominate the BJP conclave," senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.

"We will highlight the failures of the UPA government. There are issues of national importance to be discussed, rather than all this talk about dissidence," said Jaitley, who along with Pramod Mahajan is involved in drafting the political resolution to be adopted later at the summit.

Jaitley sounded upbeat about a revival of electoral fortunes of the party in the near future. "Small aberrations do not mean that the party has ceased to be en electoral force. This will be proved in the Bihar assembly elections itself soon."

The meeting comes days after tensions in the party were exacerbated by the expulsion of veteran leader Madan Lal Khurana for indiscipline. Khurana had accused Advani of being under the spell of a coterie of advisers, who are out of touch with the ground situation, and of not consulting senior leaders like him.

Protesting the move, Vajpayee said Khurana should have been given a chance to explain his position before taking the extreme step. Finally, Khurana's primary membership was restored after he, at the behest of Vajpayee, expressed regret at his adverse remarks on Advani.

Alluding to the Khurana row, Jaitley said: "All members should speak and ventilate their grievances at the party forum and not through the media."

Advani will deliver the presidential address on Friday, which is likely to focus on the revival of the party's fortunes after its defeat in the general election last year and a detailed dissection of the non-performance of the ruling coalition.

Vajpayee and Advani are expected to address a joint rally on Saturday evening.

The former Prime Minister will deliver the valedictory address on Sunday, which will be followed by a meeting of the party's state unit presidents and general secretaries.

Fine-tuning the strategy for the October 18-November 19 Bihar elections, besides assembly polls in states like Tamil Nadu next year, will also be discussed. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech in London in July, in which he praised certain legacies of the British Raj, will come for closer scrutiny.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, under attack from a section of the Gujarat BJP, is expected to make a presentation of the river-linking project in the state.

The political resolution is likely to focus on the UPA government's allegedly "soft" policies towards terrorists and Maoists, "tainted" ministers and the feud between the Left and Congress over key policy issues.

The hike in fuel prices, inflation and foreign direct investment (FDI) in infrastructure and other key sectors are likely to form the crux of the economic resolution.

First Published: Sep 15, 2005 14:06 IST