Get serious, PM tells BJP
Vajpayee told party leaders to set BJP's house in order and avoid a Himachal-style rout in more assembly polls later this year.
Prime Minister AB Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani pulled up the BJP on Sunday. They told party leaders to set the BJP's house in order and avoid a Himachal Pradesh-style rout in the assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi.
At a stock-taking at the party's headquarters, both leaders blamed the Himachal fiasco on the BJP's organisational "weaknesses". They were the reason, they said, the party failed to overcome the anti-incumbency mood of the voters.
Vajpayee and Advani said the BJP would have to take the second round of assembly polls very seriously and prepare for the Lok Sabha polls next year in earnest.
BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan said a resolution had been adopted asking BJP leaders to treat the Himachal verdict as "an occasion for the party to introspect on weaknesses" in the organisation.
However, both Vajpayee and Advani said the party's rank and file should not be demoralised and lose confidence because of what happened in Himachal Pradesh.
Vajpayee said he did not think the voters in Himachal were actually angry with the BJP, just that they were not enthusiastic enough to want it in power again. "The BJP did not fight the poll in a united way," he said.
Advani said, "If the anti-incumbency wave has hit us in Himachal Pradesh, it is going to cause even greater damage for the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, Rajashthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi."
In a bid to revive the mood of the party, a massive rally will be organised in the Capital on May 25 in support of Vajpayee and the NDA.
Shanta in trouble
BJP leader Pramod Mahajan has said Union Minister Shanta Kumar will be asked to explain a remark he made about outgoing Himachal Chief Minister PK Dhumal.
Shanta Kumar had said on Saturday that the party lost because it failed to fulfil the "promises" it had made and the poll verdict was an expression of the people's "anger".
- HTC, New Delhi