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BJP Divide Deepens
Sinha quits party posts
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 13
BJP vice president Yashwant Sinha joined here today the ever increasing number of of its critics, shooting off a five-page letter to party president Rajnath Singh, resigning from all party posts and asking all office-bearers to own responsibility for its recent defeat and follow suit.

The Hazaribagh MP while criticising the party for “putting premium on failure” publicised his letter by e-mailing it to all the members of the Core Group and leaking it to TV channels.

He has also quit the charge of Karnataka and Foreign Affairs cell and agreed with his fellow leader Jaswant Singh's earlier suggestion at the Core Committee that there should be collective responsibility for failure.

He said, “Our reluctance to introspect comprehensively and openly is unacceptable to a large number of people within the party. So is the rat race for posts. If we are a party with a difference, let us set an example in abnegation.”

Sinha said “If the responsibility is collective, as I have often heard you say, then all of us should jointly share the responsibility for our defeat. Let the party implement its own Kamraj plan under which all office bearers of the party and Parliamentary Party should resign which should be filled up through election as laid down in our Constitution.

“To facilitate this and to establish the principle of collective responsibility, I am making a beginning by submitting my resignation from the post of vice president, membership of national exective and from all positions of responsibility at national and state level.”

Targetting Jaitley and Kulkarni he said, “While on the one hand, the party is avoiding a systematic appraisal of its performance, on the other, those responsible for the management of the campaign have already made their views public through the media drawn their conclusions, apportioned blame and given themselves a clean chit,” and added, “Those of us who actually toiled in the field and took all the risk have not even been heard.”

But smartly he has acquitted Advani of any blame saying “Advani set a fine example of accountability by declining to take up the post of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha which was eminently appropriate and dignified decision.”

He claimed that Advani was persuaded to continue as Leader of Opposition and so were the others who wanted to take responsibility and resign.”

Levelling a serious charge on the party leadership he said, “It appears as if some people in the party are determined to ensure that the principle of accountability does not prevail so that their own little perch is not disturbed,” and added “I am getting a sinking feeling that once again there is a conspiracy of silence. We are shying away from pin-pointing our weakness and fixing responsibility. We are hoping that time shall heal our wounds.”

Taking visibly a swipe at Jaitley he said, “Separately, in our anxiety to distribute amongst the few higher mortals in the party whatever goodies were available, we completely disregarded the parliamentary party constitution in the election of the office bearers of the parliamentary party on May 31.”

He suggested, “I am sure a detailed review would be instructive and show the party the path for the future. At the same time, it would also help us establish the principle of accountability in the party. We fail to carry out a review after our defeat in the party. We failed to carry out a review after our defeat in the last election.

Referring to his victory in Hazaribagh, the former Finance and Foreign minister of NDA government said, “The joy over the victory was shortlived because the party failed to get the mandate and the little euphoria which was left also evaporated when I reached Delhi to a cold reception from the leadership.

“I had expected there would be a flurry of activity in Delhi that the party would be abuzz with a series of meetings to review our performance, that the necessary lessons from our defeat would be drawn quickly and remedial steps initiated without loss of time. I was surprised, therefore, when I noticed that nothing of the kind was happening. It was business as usual,” Sinha regretted.

He said, “It would be obvious even to a casual observer that this election has thrown up a number of issues which we can ignore only at our peril. These relate to our basic tenets, our policies and programmes, the issues that we raised during elections, the language in which we expressed them, the strategy that we worked for the elections, the manner in which that strategy was implemented, the campaign style of our leaders and finally the faces that we projected.”

Hinting at review of basic policies of the BJP he referred to the media analysis and said “The media was been quick to draw its own conclusions about BJP’s defeat, many of which were superficial and unsupported by empirical evidence. But some facts stand out. We have never won a seat in Kerala. We have been wiped out in some marginal states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and most of the North East.”

The senior BJP leader pointed out “We have drawn a blank in Orissa, Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. We have done poorly in Rajasthan, Punjab, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. In Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, our performance is below our expectation. The only states where our performance has been satisfactory are Jharkhand, Bihar and Karnataka. What are the reasons for this wide variation?” he asked.

He also underlined, “One would like to understand the voting behaviour of the minorities, the first-time voters, women, scheduled castes and tribes, the urban middle class, the government employees and most importantly the farmers and industrial workers in these elections. Which is the vote bank we have lost? Which is the vote bank we have gained? and finally, an analysis of the factors which helped the Congress party increase its tally from 145 seats to 206 in this,” he said.

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