Shimla, Aug.20 (ANI): Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Thursday denied existence or the tabling of any internal report prepared by Bal Apte at the three-day Chintan Baithak (brainstorming session) on reasons for the party's debacle in this year's general election. He also justified the expulsion of Jaswant Singh from the party.
Addressing a press conference here on the second day of the Chintan Baithak, Jaitley said: " No such report has been introduced or tabled at the Chintan Baithak. There is no Bal Apte report or a report of this nature by any BJP leader."
Jaitley's reaction was in response to a Times Now channel revelation that it had access to an internal report that squarely indicts and blames senior party leader L.K.Advani, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Jaitley as chief election manager for the BJP's poll debacle.
According to Times Now, the report says the election loss has been attributed to a perceived lack of unity among the party leadership and the BJP's failure to advertise and market its agenda among the people.
The report also says the projection of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate by certain sections of the party and the personal attack on the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh (which did not go down well with the people), were other key factors contributing to the defeat.
Other factors responsible were (1) The highlighting of the Varun Gandhi address in Pilibhit, which pushed aside other main issues; (2) The party's failure to assess the public mood in Haryana and to concede a virtual walkover to the Congress; (3) That elections were lost in Delhi even before campaigning began; (4) The BJP's failure to corner the Congress on 26/11 and (5) Allowing the Congress and the media to corner the BJP on the Kandahar hijack issue.
According to the channel, the internal report apparently targets issues and not individuals.
On the Jaswant Singh issue, he said: "What you say and what you write is fine, but no party can give its member the liberty that while remaining the frontline leader you opt to go against the basic ideology or belief or talk publicly against it,"
He said the party had already taken a stance on Jinnah previously (with regard to Advani's comments during a visit to Pakistan), which is well known to all.
He said that Advani had read out Jinnah's Constituent Assembly speech before a Pakistani audience, and said: "Today, look where your country is languishing".
"The context in the (Jaswant Singh) book is directly opposed and contradictory to the party's take on it (as stated in the past). Saying Jinnah was demonised in India or take on Sardar Patel, is contrary not just to the party's, but country's opinion as well," he added.
"We believe that Sardar Patel did the job of unifying the country. His criticism is against the party line. Alienation of Muslims in the country is also against the party line," Jaitley said.
"If a member of the party contests an election against the party, that party expels him immediately. It does not issues show cause notices to him," he added.
Asked for news on Vasundhara Raje, Jaitely said: " I have come here to speak about what has been discussed in the ongoing meet and not any other issue." (ANI)