New Delhi: Amid speculation of an internal rift within the Bharatiya Janata Party, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Saturday said that the party needs to put its own house in order first.
Speaking on the second and the last day of BJP’s National Executive meet here, Swaraj – the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha – said people were looking up to the BJP and the party must prove its worth.
She told the party cadre that elections could not be won just because the UPA is in disarray.
"We also have to learn from the mistakes of Congress. We need to have a clean image, unity in the party, bring all allies together, and perform our role as the opposition to prepare ourselves for forming an alternative government," Swaraj said.
"People are looking at us and we must prove ourselves," she said, asking the party workers to be prepared and reach out to people at the grassroots.
Veteran party leader LK Advani too echoed Swaraj’s views, and asked partymen to gear up for early polls.
"The UPA government is on a suicidal path... We must gear up as you never know what is in the offing," Advani was quoted as telling party workers at the meet.
Advani was delivering the valedictory address to party office bearers at the meet.
The call to put the house in order came amidst speculation of cold war between Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who skipped the National Executive meet.
Even as the BJP publicly defended Modi for his absence, a party source said some senior leaders were not happy with his decision.
The source said several senior leaders were unhappy with Modi`s decision which had left the party embarrassed.
Party leaders were seen grappling for excuses to explain the leader`s absence.
According to sources, Modi skipped the meet after being upset over Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar being chosen to flag-off Advani`s anti-corruption `yatra`.
The controversial Gujarat leader was recently pitched as a likely contender for the prime minister`s post by a US Congressional report for the 2014 general elections.
Apart from Modi, two former chief ministers, BS Yeddyurappa and Ramesh Pokhriyal, are also sulking. Pokhriyal came to the meet today after the BJP conveyed to him that he is being made a vice-president of the party.