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Sinha, Shourie axed from BJP meet
NEW DELHI, AUG 11 (IANS):
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Published on 12 Aug. 2009 12:29 AM IST
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A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Tuesday admitted that former cabinet ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie have been dropped from a key party meeting because of their criticism of the party leadership following the Lok Sabha election debacle. "It is clear that the criteria to invite party leaders has been formed with the intention to drop these two (Sinha and Shourie) because they had criticised the party leadership," the leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity. Sinha and Shourie have not been called for the party's three-day 'Chintan Baithak' (brain-storming session) beginning in Shimla Aug 19. Almost all other senior leaders have been invited, party sources said. Invitations have been specifically sent out to all general secretaries, members of the core committee, all chief ministers and deputy chief ministers as well as leaders and deputy leaders of opposition in both houses of parliament. In all, 25 leaders have been asked to attend. Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who had said that accountability needed to be fixed for the party's debacle in the April-May ballot, could not conceal his hurt. Sinha told IANS here: "It is very simple. The criteria they have fixed for the Chintan Baithak, we (Shourie and I) don't fit in that criteria." But he quickly added that he didn't think the BJP had acted against them because of their public criticism following the election outcome. The BJP, which hoped to unseat the Congress, won only 116 seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha. When he was told that most people believed that Sinha and Shourie had been sidelined because of their dissent, Sinha shrugged: "I cannot help the interpretation." More recently, Sinha voiced displeasure vis-a-vis the party leadership for not asking him to initiate the discussion on the budget in the Lok Sabha although he had presented five budgets as India's finance minister. Sinha gave an interview to a newspaper even after party president Rajnath Singh advised leaders not to air their grievances in public. Shourie refused to speak on the issue. "I don't want to speak on party matters," Shourie told IANS, when asked for his reaction on why he has not been invited to the meeting. Shourie had in a series of articles in a newspaper said tht the party had been virtually taken over by "certain leaders and their henchmen". Most people interpreted his comments as an attack on Arun Jaitley. Shourie wrote: "These henchmen become the leader's eyes and ears... They feast off him when he is in office. They dissuade him from quitting when he clearly should." Jaitley said in a television interview last week that he alone could not be blamed for the poll debacle. Senior party leader Sushma Swaraj, however, told IANS that the issues raised by both Sinha and Shourie would be discussed during the meeting in Shimla.

 
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