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.

In a virtual challenge to PM 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 the Bihar defeat showed that the BJP had learnt nothing from its crushing defeat by the AAP in Delhi in February.

"To say that everyone is responsible for the defeat in Bihar is to ensure that no one is held responsible," said the brief hard-hitting statement signed by Sinha on behalf of the four leaders.

"It shows that those who would have appropriated credit if the party had won are bent on shrugging off responsibility for the disastrous showing in Bihar," it said, in a clear reference to PM Modi and Amit Shah who were the BJP's faces vis-a-vis the Grand Alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The statement followed a meeting of the leaders at Advani's residence and then at Joshi's where former central minister Arun Shourie, who has blamed PM Modi, Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the Bihar defeat, was also present along with former BJP ideologue KN Govindacharya.

"The result of the Bihar election shows that no lesson was learnt from the fiasco in Delhi," the statement said. Advani and the others said that a review of the Bihar rout -- where the Bharatiya Janata Party won just 53 of the 243 assembly seats -- 'must not be done by the very persons who have managed and who have been responsible for the campaigning in Bihar'.

In an obvious reference to PM Modi and his confidant Shah, it said “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".

The statement said the principal reason for the party's defeat in Bihar 'is how the party has been emasculated in the last year. The statement came hours after Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that PM Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat were not to blame for the disaster in Bihar where the JD-U, RJD and Congress won a whopping 178 seats.

Latest News from India News Desk