Top BJP leaders began a brainstorming session here over the state of affairs in the party against the backdrop of Lok Sabha defeat and internal bickerings that have marred its image with senior leader Jaswant Singh keeping away from the opening session.

Mr. Singh was also in Shimla, but was staying away from Peterhoff Hotel where the three-day 'Chintan Baithak' is being held.

It was not known whether Mr. Singh had chosen to stay away from the first session or would join it later.

On the first day of its three-day closed-door Chintan Baithak, the party leadership is expected to discuss the Bal Apte committee report which has been prepared

on the basis of inputs from States on the reasons for the poor performance of the party in the Lok Sabha polls.

The next two days will discuss the future course of action of the party, learning from the lessons of the recent Lok Sabha elections. The party top brass will also strategise on the coming Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana.

The meeting is being attended by about 25 top BJP leaders including L K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

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