New Delhi: The BJP fielded three former party presidents to make a swift response to four veteran leaders who staged a revolt today evening against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, attacking them over the party's Bihar defeat in a scathing statement.
In a counter statement, senior BJP leaders and Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari reminded the senior rebels that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani had set a healthy precedent of the party collectively taking up responsibility for victories and defeats."
Mr Advani is among the four veterans who said in a joint statement, "To say everyone is responsible for defeat in Bihar is to ensure everyone is held responsible. It shows those who would have appropriated credit are bent on shrugging off responsibility for the disastrous showing in Bihar."
PM Modi was the face of the BJP's Bihar campaign in a strategy constructed by Mr Amit Shah. Ever since the party's defeat in the state on Sunday there have been rumblings in the party, with several party leaders questioning the strategy.
Earlier, party leader Shatrughan Sinha took a swipe at the top leadership, saying the issue of "Bihari versus Bahri" has been settled once and for all.
On Monday, the group of 12 top BJP leaders called the parliamentary board, which includes PM Modi and Mr Shah, met and assessed that no one could be blamed for the Bihar defeat; they said the party had failed the gauge the mood in the state.
Senior leaders like Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley have said no blame can be attached to the Prime Minister.
The veterans' statement does not name PM Modi or Mr Shah but criticises their leadership saying, "A principle reason for the latest defeat is the way the party has been emasculated in the last year...A thorough review must be done of the reasons for the defeat as well as the way the party is being forced to kowtow to a handful and how its consensual character has been destroyed."