New Delhi: Smarting under the shock defeat in Jharkhand Rajya Sabha elections, BJP central leaders on Friday held a meeting to analyse what went wrong in the polls in which Deputy Leader of the party in the Upper House SS Ahluwalia lost to JMM and Congress.
BJP Parliamentary Party Chief LK Advani, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and party leaders Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Ananth Kumar, who had been sent by the central leadership as an observer for the polls and to work towards getting the required votes, held a meeting to look into the reasons for the defeat.
The party handled the elections so badly that even the two independent MLAs Chamra Linda and Bidesh Singh, who support the BJP-JMM coalition government in Jharkhand, did not vote for Ahluwalia.
Rubbing salt to its wounds, these two as well as the other five independent MLAs had voted for Congress candidate Pradip Kumar Balmuchu.
After the meeting, Sinha said perhaps there was a need to put in more effort.
Internal differences between the central leaders is said to be the prime reason for Ahluwalia`s defeat.
Party leaders feel Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda was more concerned about not antagonising ally JMM during this exercise as this could endanger his government.
Others felt the central leaders, including party president Nitin Gadkari, did not evince much interest in ensuring that the numbers were on its side due to internal squabbles.
The total strength of the JMM-BJP ruling alliance, which also has AJSU and JD(U) as partners, in Jharkhand is 45. While JMM candidate Sanjeev Kumar managed the 23 votes required to win a seat, Ahluwalia could win only 20 votes.
There were fissures in BJP when the elections were first
declared. Anshuman Mishra, an NRI businessman, had won the support of a section of BJP central leadership but had to withdraw when there was a hue and cry and the party declared it will not support him.
Ahluwalia got a chance when the elections were countermanded in the wake of reported horse-trading and fresh polls ordered. The party decided to field a candidate as a section of the central leadership sympathetic to Ahluwalia wanted that he be given the ticket.
The dissensions within BJP appear to have nixed Ahluwalia`s chances too as a united effort was not made, sources said.
The party has been left fuming as Congress managed the elections deftly and their candidate Balmuchu came first with 25 votes despite the party being in Opposition. He got Congress (13), RJD (5) and Independents (7) votes.
BJP leaders, preferring anonymity, said Congress "managed" the independent MLAs who voted in their favour.