Yashwant meets Advani; Gadkari wants action against 'irresponsible' remarks

New Delhi: Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha met BJP patriarch L.K. Advani on Wednesday, a day after the BJP's old guard including Advani took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, and demanded "thorough review" of the Bihar assembly poll debacle.

Meanwhile, union minister Nitin Gadkari defended Modi and Shah and demanded action against leaders who make unwarranted statements. However, there was no official word either from Advani or from Sinha, but sources said that the old guard of the BJP were not satisfied by a mere statement issued by the party on Tuesday night after their joint statement.

The meeting took place at Advani's residence and lasted for around 40 minutes. Sources said union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and former Delhi mayor Arti Mehra were also present at Advani's residence when Sinha reached there.

In a virtual challenge to Modi's leadership who became the prime minister in May 2014, former party presidents Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, former union minister Yashwant Sinha and former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Shanta Kumar said on Tuesday in a joint statement that the Bihar defeat showed that the BJP had learnt nothing from its crushing defeat by the AAP in Delhi in February.

The BJP, in a statement, later said it was "fortunate" to have been led by leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani for decades, and welcomed any guidance and suggestion from the party's "seniors" on victories and defeats.

Meanwhile, Gadkari defended Modi and Shah, saying everyone in the party was responsible for the Bihar debacle. "We are not a party of mother-son, father-son. Neither are we a party of a specific family. The BJP is a party of cadres. It's not a party of any leader. When we win, the party wins and when we lose, the party gets defeated," Gadkari told reporters.

He also said the BJP had lost elections under Advani's leadership too. "The BJP lost elections under party veteran Advani too," he said. "The Bihar debacle is the collective responsibility of the party and not of any individual. I have told party chief Shah to initiate stringent action against those making irresponsible statements and causing damage to the party's image," Gadkari said.

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