Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said on Saturday that the Uttar Pradesh verdict was a validation of the trust and connect that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had developed with the poorer sections of society.
Shah said the saffron party’s two alliance partners in Uttar Pradesh would get ministerial jobs in the new government, adding “competence” will be the only criterion in picking the chief minister.
“It is both Holi and Diwali for us today,” Shah told journalists.
“The politics of appeasement or caste and family affiliations is over. Voters want all-round development and the welfare of the poor.”
As Modi’s chief election strategist, the 52-year-old is being credited – after the prime minister – with the party’s stunning success in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The victories will also likely silence many party members who resent his closeness to Modi and blamed him for the loss in Bihar assembly polls in 2015.
Shah refused to comment on BSP leader Mayawati’s charge that the EVMs were tampered.
“The voters – poor sections in particular – have solidly backed the Prime Minister’s demonetization move. The poor sections respect the Prime Minister for his efforts in bringing improvements to their living conditions through various governmental initiatives. This is the situation in UP and the other states as well”, Shah said.
Asked about the reasons for the defeat of the Congress-Samajwadi Party combine in UP, Shah said, “Kaam Bolta Hai” – a veiled mocking of state chief Akhilesh Yadav’s campaign slogan.
In the case relating to Gayatri Prajapati – the rape accused Samajwadi Party leader who is absconding – the BJP chief said the “police would do its job.”
He expressed no regret for the BJP’s defeat in Punjab, adding that there would be no rethink on the party’s alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal. “We will study the Punjab verdict”, he said.
Shah said he expected the Opposition to come forward to debate every issue in parliament.
Quizzed on the reasons for Prime Minister long stay of three days in Varanasi in the last phase of campaign, the BJP chief said the Prime Minister had himself asked the party to change his schedule for Varanasi. “He wanted to meet the people there. He is MP from there”.