New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh on Saturday took responsibility for the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections but said it was not a nationwide debacle.
Singh told the party’s national executive in New Delhi results for the party varied in states, so a single individual accountable for the debacle.
"We can't hold one person accountable for failure and the review of the defeat is an ongoing process. The BJP believes in collective success and collective failure," Singh said. "I am taking responsibility".
"The people's verdict in the election was not according to our expectations but I take blame for the poor results. But it is not right to say that is a nationwide defeat," Singh said.
Singh insisted the BJP had raised relevant issues during election campaign. "We do not regret the issues we have raised. These issues whether communal reservation, communal budgeting or soft approach to terrorism were all in national interest," he said.
Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference the BJP would not abandon its Hindutva ideology. “The election was not a verdict on BJP’s concept of Hindutva, which is liberal and tolerant,” said Prasad.
"As far as ideology of Hindutva is concerned, it is liberal, not conservative, and tolerant. When some people say we must leave it, we do not accept," he said.
Hindutva "means justice to all, appeasement to none, tolerant, supporting coexistence, talking of a larger view of cultural civilisation as ethos of India," said Prasad.
Dissent hurts BJP
The two-day national executive, which began at Parliament Annexe, will assess its poor electoral performance and look for ways to revive cadre morale.
Senior BJP leader and former union minister Murli Manohar Joshi, said the meeting is "trying to analyse the reasons" for the Lok Sabha defeat.
"It has not reached a final conclusion. The reasons will be placed before a committee and we will get to know about it," Joshi told a television channel ahead of the meeting.
Asked if the party would go ahead with its Hindutva ideology now, Joshi said the BJP would not compromise with ideology. "As far as the party is concerned, there will be no compromise with ideology... only how to express it so that it is acceptable to all (will be deliberated)," the senior leader said.
The BJP got 116 seats in the Lok Sabha elections: down from the 138 in 2004. It had been hoping to improve on its performance this time.
Ever since the results, the BJP, which is the second largest party in the Lok Sabha, has been gripped with internal strife.
Senior party leader Arun Shourie on Friday joined the growing list of those voicing discontent with the party's functioning. Shourie reportedly wrote to Rajnath Singh demanding a debate on the poor election results and the way the party is being run.
Senior party leaders Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha have written letters, which were mysteriously leaked to the media, have objected to Arun Jaitley being appointed as the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya.
Jaitley has resigned as general secretary in keeping with the one-man one-post principle, but Sinha and Singh want blame fixed for the election results and also pressed for re-constitution of the party.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)