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BJP swears by ideology; slams indiscipline
NEW DELHI/SHIMLA, AUG 21 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 21 Aug. 2009 10:50 PM IST
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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh on Friday said he took responsibility for defeat in elections and admitted the party needed to expand its social base. “If someone is to be held accountable, I take responsibility for the defeat,” Singh told a press conference at the concluding day of BJP’s chintan baithak or introspection meeting in Shimla on Friday. He announced that senior leader L K Advani would continue to lead the party. “Advaniji is our leader and he will continue to be our leader,” said Rajnath. “The political ideology and thought on the basis of which the party was found, we will stick to it now and continue to do so in future. Our ideology is non-negotiable,” said Singh. “What I have done, you have seen it--there will be no compromise on indiscipline,” he said when asked what the BJP would do about leaders criticizing the party’s decisions. He announced that the BJP had prepared an ‘action plan’ to expand its geographical and social base. The plan will be presented for approval at a conclave in September. “We will come out with a future action plan, you can call it the road ahead, on the basis of suggestions during the three-day chintan baithak (introspection session). The larger goal would be the social and geographical expansion of the party,” he said. BJP should emerge as pro-poor, pro-farmer, pro-village and pro-middle class party, said Singh. Asked about Rashtriya Swayam Sewak (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat favouring younger leadership in the party, Singh said the BJP has been inducting fresh blood for a long time. “We have been doing it all the time.” Singh said it was unanimously felt during the discussions that to expand the party’s social base, the BJP should ensure better participation of women, weaker sections, the poor, farmers, Scheduled Castes and Tribes, in the party and the government. The BJP chief said the party was committed to its ideology of “cultural nationalism and integral humanism. It is both comprehensive and inclusive, where there is no scope for discrimination between individuals”. “We realised that this ideology needs to be articulated in a simple and easy way to the people,” Rajnath Singh said. The BJP meeting in Shimla was overshadowed by its expulsion of senior leader Jaswant Singh. Party leader Sushma Swaraj, who spoke before Singh, said Advani believed Jaswant’s expulsion from the party was “necessary”. The BJP believed Jaswant, in a biography of Pakistani statesman M A Jinnah, has allegedly criticised Sardar Patel, the country’s first Home Minister. “For someone who was with us for 30 years it was a difficult decision. What he wrote was against the party policy. Patel was Home Minister of the country for three-and-half years and brought more than 700 principalities into the Indian union. He was no ordinary man and Jaswant tried to denigrate him.” Swaraj quoted Advani as saying at at the chintan baitak. Patel banned RSS under Nehru’s pressure: Advani Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani has claimed that Sardar Patel banned RSS under Jawaharlal Nehru’s pressure. Referring to Jaswant Singh’s statement that Patel had banned RSS and how he was core to BJP’s ideology, Advani said that it was at Nehru’s behest that Patel banned RSS. “One month later, Patel wrote a letter to Nehru saying that there is not an iota of evidence against RSS. Jaswant is saying only half of what had happened and not the other half,” Advani was quoted as saying by Sushma Swaraj. Advani also said that Patel’s task of unifying more 700 odd princely states was a “super human effort and a specatular achievement.” “It was not possible by an ordinary person. Jaswant Singh tried to denigrate Patel,” he added. Describing expulsion of Jaswant Singh as a “painful but necessary” decision, Advani answered his criticism on Sardar Vallabhai Patel saying the first Home Minister had banned the RSS at Jawaharlal Nehru’s behest. “It is mentally painful to expel somebody who has been with you for the past 30 years but what he wrote was against the basic ideology of the party,” he said in his valedictory address at the concluding day of the three-day ‘Chintan Baitak’ here. In his first comments on the party’s decision taken on Monday, he told top BJP leaders attending the conclave that he felt that the expulsion of the Darjeeling MP as “painful but a necessary” action.

 
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