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Jaitley meets M M Joshi in bid to pacify BJP veterans

Joshi

Union Minister Arun Jaitley today met senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, in an apparent bid to pacify party veterans, who have attacked the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah following the Bihar debacle.

Jaitley called on Joshi, one of the four senior leaders including L K Advani who had issued a strongly-worded statement on Diwali eve, and spent some time at his residence.

Details of their talks are not known but the Finance Minister, once an Advani protege, is believed to have been tasked with the responsibility to defuse the situation.

The meeting came a day after Jaitley’s ministerial colleague and former party president Nitin Gadkari put up a strong defence of Modi and Shah and even demanded action against those making “irresponsible” statements.

Gadkari, along with two former presidents, Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu, had issued a statement on the party’s behalf soon after the veterans launched their attack and demanded that responsibility be fixed for the Bihar loss, alleging that BJP had been “emasculated” in one year.

The three former presidents insisted that the party practised collective accountability when Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had headed it and suffered losses.

Party sources said Rajnath Singh is of the view that since Advani and Joshi have experience and contributed immensely to the growth of the BJP, the party should listen to them.

The Home Minister is said to be in favour of examination and analysis of what the veterans have said and decisions taken for the overall good of the BJP. Such decisions should be acceptable to all, the sources said.

Meanwhile, Prashant Kishor, who played a key role in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s successful campaign to retain power, met former Union minister Arun Shourie.

Once a Modi supporter, Shourie has turned a bitter critic and is said to have played a role in drafting the veterans’ statement.