New Delhi: Humbled at the hustings, BJP on Saturday accepted the people’s verdict in the Lok Sabha polls with “due respect” and promised to play “constructive opposition” even as it prepared to do soul-searching for the “collective” failure.
Senior leader L K Advani, who was projected as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate, virtually took responsibility for the defeat by insisting that he should not be the Leader of Opposition in the next Lok Sabha but the offer was turned down by the party which asked him to continue to “guide”.
The party congratulated UPA for its victory, with Advani calling up Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and assuring cooperation as a “constructive opposition” for “strengthening India”.
The analysis of the poll outcome began as soon as the results showed that UPA had emerged as the largest coalition, with BJP’s highest policy-making body Parliamentary Board meeting under the chairmanship of Advani.
At the meeting, Advani said he does not want to be Leader of Opposition of the next Lok Sabha and some other person should be chosen for the post, BJP chief Rajnath Singh said, adding the Parliamentary Board turned it down.
As Advani insisted, the meeting authorised BJP chief Rajnath Singh to talk to the senior leader and persuade him to take up the post again.
After the hour-long brainstorming at Advani’s residence, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley told reporters that his party accepts the “people’s verdict” with “due respect and humility”.
He said the mandate had clearly been in favour of the UPA.
On BJP’s introspection, Jaitley said some local issues combined with some national factors could have been responsible for the dismal performance of the party.
Asked repeatedly whether anyone in the party will take responsibility for the electoral defeat, he maintained that it was a “collective” responsibility.
He said a detailed analysis will be conducted and “whatever corrective steps need to be taken, will be taken”.
The analysis focus on whether the alliances were proper, whether there was any failure at organizational level and whether raking up issues like price rise and terrorism had failed to help.
To a question, Jaitley said, “we have to learn from every election verdict.”
He, however, insisted that Modi’s candidature for prime ministership was never discussed in the party and it was confined to media speculation.
There is a feeling in BJP that Varun Gandhi’s hate speech in Pilibhit in March had cost the party dearly as Muslim votes had got consolidated in favour of Congress in several constituencies.