No respite for BJP from criticism over Bihar poll debacle

BJP failed to get any respite from its MPs on the Bihar poll debacle but two senior ministers on Friday sought to placate the dissenting veterans saying their views would be given due consideration. One of the ministers, Nitin Gadkari, himself a former President of the party, denied that he had suggested disciplinary action against veterans– LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha, who had issued a strong statement targeting Modi-Shah duo for the Bihar drubbing.

The rumblings in the party over the Bihar loss continued today with party MP RK Singh supporting the veterans’ demand that accountability be fixed for the drubbing. “Accountability has to be fixed. Review should be made of the election debacle. We need to find out what went wrong, who were responsible. That’s what ‘margdarshak mandal’ said,” Singh, the Ara MP, said in a reference to the statement of the veterans.

The former union home secretary, who during the campaign had spoken against the choice of candidates of BJP-led NDA, claimed BJP gave tickets to people with criminal background, stressing that some of them were not “ordinary criminals” but those on whom government had declared reward. “We thought we were a party with a difference. We will give a clean government…. Then you give tickets to criminals. That is very bad, very sad,” Singh said.

Manoj Tewari, MP from North-East Delhi who was one of the leading BJP campaigners, joined other BJP leaders in criticising the party’s campaign in Bihar and lauded the strategy of JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance as “undoubtedly better”. The Bhojpuri singer-turned-politician, who is a Lok Sabha member from Delhi, said the party failed to convince the people to vote for BJP candidates. “We clearly failed to convince people of Bihar on our party’s agenda. Undoubtedly, the strategy of grand alliance (of JDU-RJD-Congress) had been proved better than ours. We could have campaigned in a more strategical way to reach out larger masses,” said Tewari, who represents North East Delhi in Lok Sabha.

A number of Bihar BJP MPs like Shatrughan Sinha, Hukumdev Narayan Yadav and Bhola Singh have criticised the party’s campaign with likes of Sinha and Singh drawing the top party brass in their line of fire.