New Delhi: The four BJP elders who pulled up the party leadership last month over the defeat in Bihar assembly elections, have decided to intervene in the Arun Jaitley vs Kirti Azad controversy which has hit the party. The elders will meet Mr Azad, and raise the issue in party forum instead of going public with their views, sources told NDTV.
Veteran leaders LK Advani, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha had met at the home of Murli Manohar Joshi earlier today.
Suspended yesterday after he publicly targeted Union finance minister Arun Jaitley with allegations of corruption in the Delhi's cricket body DDCA he once headed, Mr Azad had demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the BJP's margdarshak mandal look into his suspension. The Prime Minister is currently on a visit to Russia.
Mr Advani and Mr Joshi are part of the margdarshak mandal -- a five-member group of mentors -- set up last year during a party revamp by party chief Amit Shah in what was seen as a move to sideline the veterans, removing them from the all-powerful parliamentary board. The mandal has not met even once.
But last month, after a meeting, the elders' group had issued its joint statement attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah over the party's humiliating defeat in Bihar.
Playing down today's meeting, Mr Kumar later told reporters, "We keep meeting over tea, nothing specific was discussed... It's unfortunate that politics has come down to allegations and counter-allegations."
In its suspension notice yesterday, the BJP has accused Kirti Azad with colluding with Opposition parties, including the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress, with the sole purpose of embarrassing the party and its office bearers.
Mr Azad has said he will respond to the party's notice today and another BJP leader Subramanian Swamy would help him frame the reply.
The veteran's meeting came amid speculation that more rebellious heads could roll, among them Shatrughan Sinha, who has described Mr Azad as a "hero." It was the latest in a long list of transgressions that has included a scathing assessment on Twitter of why the BJP's strategy in Bihar flopped.
Mr Sinha - who also warmly met and congratulated Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav after they defeated the BJP in Bihar - was widely expected to be punished at that time. But the BJP had strategically chosen to play down the revolt of Mr Advani and group and so could also not act against Mr Sinha and several others who criticised the Bihar strategy.