On a day when all the focus was on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s anointment as chairman of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign committee for the 2014 polls, senior BJP leader and former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha groused about the party allowing the media “to dictate our agenda and influence our policies” and forcing it “into the quicksand of an imagined clash of personalities, thereby completely giving a go-by to the issues of the day.”

“Politics must be based on issues, not on personalities, especially today when we have so many issues to raise against the government of the day. The media has ensured that issues get submerged in the so-called clash of personalities in the BJP. Are the media and the BJP allowing themselves to become a victim of a grand conspiracy,” he asked.

Lamenting that some people in the party were subjected to an unprecedented media scrutiny in the last few days, Mr. Sinha said he was one of the earliest in the BJP to speak in favour of Narendra Modi.

“The reason was that the cadres wanted it, the people wanted it. He has no match in the Congress party or elsewhere. But, in India our culture, our traditions and our values teach us to have and show the highest respect and regard for our elders. We do that every day in our families and deride those who do not do so in their families.

“It was this feeling in my mind, it was this tradition in our society which prompted me to tell a media person that if Advani made himself available, if the Parliamentary Board of the party decided in his favour and if the NDA was on board then the discussion on the leadership issue should end. This was construed by a section of the media to mean that I had changed my position and that instead of Modi I was backing Advani.”

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