Bharatiya Janata Party President Rajnath Singh has denied that the party’s “chintan baithak” (brainstorming session) in Shimla discussed or deliberated upon any document that analysed the reasons for the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha election.
A statement was issued here by the party in Mr. Singh’s name on Thursday after a section of the media “disclosed” the contents of an internal party document and claimed this was discussed at the session.
A three-member committee, headed by party vice-president Bal Apte was set up to report on the electoral debacle. Later it was said that groups of two and three leaders would visit the State headquarters of the party and analyse the reasons for the defeat.
These reports were to be discussed at the “chintan baithak” and a few days ago, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat made it plain that the BJP would look at the reasons for the poll disaster although earlier Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani suggested the discussion would be more focussed on “the road ahead.”
On Thursday, first it was Arun Jaitley denying in Shimla that the Apte report was tabled or discussed at the “chintan baithak.” Then it was party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar, who said that he spoke to Mr. Apte, who told him no report was circulated by him to party leaders in Shimla. And in the evening, a statement was issued by Mr. Singh denying that such a report was discussed.
Sources in the party indicated that the furious denials by the party were triggered by the fact that it was being claimed that the Apte report squarely blamed Mr. Advani for virtually hijacking the 2009 election campaign, ignoring issues identified by the party and focussing only on projecting himself as the next prime minister.
Other reasons supposedly mentioned in the Apte report were lack of unity in the party, lack of presence in a number of States in the south and east, and the sudden departure of the Biju Janata Dal from the National Democratic Alliance.
While all these factors have been talked about in party circles since the Lok Sabha election results were out, the party had strongly denied the presentation of any such report listing these factors.