"Big leaders, particularly Swaraj and Jaitley, hijacked the yatra for which Thakur and the BJYM worked so hard," a senior youth wing leader told rediff.com requesting anonymity.
Thakur, who was released along with the three senior leaders on Thursday, was not available for comment. "Sir is taking some rest," said a person who answered the BJYM chief's phone calls.
It was Thakur who hoisted the tricolour at the Police Training College in Kathua on Wednesday after his release.
According to the party sources, there was no plan that Swaraj and Jaitley would join the yatra. But soon after a delegation headed by BJP patriarch LK Advani met President Pratibha Patil demanding that Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj should be recalled for sanctioning the prosecution of Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, Swaraj, Jaitley and Kumar took a special flight to Jammu. All of this was just a gimmick to divert attention, said the party insiders who spoke to rediff.com.
BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi denied that the yatra was hijacked by the party's top leadership. "Swaraj, Jaitley and Kumar reached Jammu as per the party's decision taken a few days back," Naqvi told rediff.com.
When BJP patriarch LK Advani handed over the flag to Thakur in New Delhi at a public rally on January 20 to mark the beginning of the yatra, both Jaitley and Swaraj were conspicuous by their absence.
"Party seniors felt that the youth leader would not be able to handle the pressure as the yatra was drawing a lot of attention and hence Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu joined him till he reached Pathankot near the Jammu and Kashmir border. From there the top leadership of the party took over," said sources in the BJP.Swaraj and Jaitley claimed at a press conference held in Jammu that the Ekta Yatra was a success as they were able to drive home a point. Thakur was present at the media briefing but chose not to speak, said sources.