Ahead of the party's brainstorming session next week, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani has met Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat amidst clear indications that the Shimla meet may skip the issue of who and what exactly were the reasons behind the party's defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.
Party sources said Advani met Bhagwat on Monday in New Delhi over lunch but refused to disclose details of what was discussed between the two. The 'Chintan Baithak' near Shimla next week is expected to discuss a report said to have been prepared by BJP vice-president Bal Apte on the basis of inputs received from state units on the reasons for the defeat. Among the points reportedly mentioned in the document that went against the party included the shrill campaign against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Varun Gandhi's hate speeches, factionalism in the Rajasthan unit and absence ofAtal Bihari Vajpayee. However, BJP MP Chandan Mitra denied there was any such report or document. He also made it clear that the Shimla session would not discuss "who is at fault or who is not at fault" but "look at the road ahead".
About the decision not to invite detractors like Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, he said Sinha has resigned from all party posts and "doesn't fit in. Neither does Arun Shourie". But there are skeptics in the party who feel that how could a discussion take place on the road ahead without looking back at what led to the defeat. The Advani camp, which was initially diffident in the wake of defeat, has been buoyant ever since the budget session of Parliament and has made bold to say that Advani would continue as Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha for a full term of five years.
Sushma Swaraj's announcement in this regard is likely to figure in the brainstorming session where leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi, Jaswant Singh and Vinay Katiyar would also be present. These leaders may raise issues which may not not be to the liking of the leadership.