NEW DELHI -- On the eve of Diwali, four veteran leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party issued a statement attributing their party's defeat in the Bihar State Election to its "emasculation," and failure to learn from the Delhi election "fiasco," earlier this year.
"The result of the Bihar elections shows that no lesson has been learnt from the fiasco in Delhi," said the statement by L.K. Advani, M.M., Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar on Tuesday evening.
"The principle reason for the latest defeat is the way the Party has been emasculated in the last year," they said.
This stinger from Advani and his colleagues comes two days after the Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav - led Grand Alliance routed BJP in Bihar, and a few hours after the central government announced relaxation of FDI norms in 15 sectors, just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United Kingdom.
In a thinly veiled jibe at Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, who engineered the election campaign in Bihar, the four leaders said that responsibility needs to be assigned for the party's defeat.
"To say that everyone is responsible for the defeat in Bihar is to ensure that no one is held responsible. It shows that those who would have appropriated credit if the Party had won are bent on shrugging responsibility for the disastrous showing in Bihar," they said.
While it was widely anticipated that the Grand Alliance of the Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress Party had an edge, they were not expected to drum up a stunning 178 seats in the Bihar Legislative Assembly.
With 53 seats, the BJP cannot even lay claim to forming the single largest party since the RJD took 80 seats followed by JD(U) with 71. Even the Congress Party bagged 27 seats.
The veteran leaders called for a "thorough review" of the reasons for the defeat in Bihar, and also on how the BJP's "consensual character" is being destroyed as party members are being forced to "kow tow" to a handful of people.
In another jibe at the top leadership of the party, the statement said that those responsible for managing the campaign in Bihar should not be given the responsibility of carrying out the review.
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