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Knives out in BJP as Advani, Joshi raise a banner of revolt against Modi

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NEW DELHI: Knives were out in BJP tonight with veteran leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and two others raising a banner of revolt against the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the wake of Bihar debacle saying that the party has been “emasculated” in the last one year and was being “forced to kow-tow to a handful”.

In the first challenge to Modi since he emerged the undisputed leader of the party and the government in May last year, the veterans including Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha issued a brief but strongly-worded statement that demanded a thorough review of the debacle.

“The principal reason for the latest defeat is the way the party has been emasculated in the last year.

“A through review must be done of the reasons for the defeat as well as of the way the party is being forced to kow-tow to a handful, and how its consensual character has been destroyed,” the statement said.

Before the statement was released from the residence of Joshi, a former BJP president, former union minister Arun Shourie and former RSS ideologue K N Govindacharya were closeted with Joshi.

The statement said the results of the Bihar election showed that no lesson has been learnt from the fiasco in Delhi, where the Aam Aadmi Party trounced BJP by securing 67 of the 70 assembly seats.

“To say that everyone is responsible for the defeat in Bihar is to ensure that no one is held responsible. It shows those who would have appropriated credit if the party had won are bent on shrugging off responsibility for the disastrous showing in Bihar,” it said.

The statement is an apparent dig at the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s defence of the leadership yesterday after the Parliamentary Board’s review of the performance in which he had said “as far as accountability is concerned the party wins collectively and loses collectively”. He was reacting to a query whether party chief Amit Shah would be held responsible for the defeat.