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BJP blames urban voters, Varun, Modi...

The BJP’s first conclusion about the causes of its dismal performance in the Lok Sabha is that its brand of politics has lost sheen among voters in urban areas across the country.

delhi Updated: May 17, 2009 02:06 IST
Shekhar Iyer

The BJP’s first conclusion about the causes of its dismal performance in the Lok Sabha is that its brand of politics has lost sheen among voters in urban areas across the country.

In rural areas too, the Congress managed to convince its voters that it was the best bet for providing continuity and stability to government policies for them.

The BJP’s parliamentary board minced no words in conveying this too. Its statement said the best mandate to rule is in favour of the UPA and that it would cooperate with the Congress.

Whether it is Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur or Bangalore, the voters are no longer enthused by the BJP, party leaders concluded at meetings held in presence L.K. Advani and other leaders.

The absence of A.B. Vajpayee, who always gave the BJP much needed appeal because of his moderate image, turned out to be a big handicap for the party, they said. “Something did go wrong and something did not go in favour of the BJP,” said Arun Jaitley, party’s chief strategist. “We will analyse the results for course correction.”

He saw the Congress’s real gains were in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

Jaitley said the Congress also benefited by the people rejecting the Left and so-called Third Front parties because they were seen as holding an anarchist agenda.

Other BJP leaders, particularly younger leaders, feel Varun Gandhi’s hate speech, Mangalore pub attacks, in-fighting in states like Rajasthan, and less than expected performance in Madhya Pradesh reduced the party’s tally.

Some party leaders said even Gujarat CM Narendra Modi’s style had begun to bring “diminishing” returns for the BJP outside Gujarat.

A strategist said the Varun episode forced Muslim votes to get consolidated in favour of the Congress.

Many BJP leaders said the Sikh voters in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi voted in favour of the Congress because of PM Manmohan Singh. About Haryana, the party’s opinion was that the alliance with INLD was a blunder.

After he congratulated the PM and Sonia Gandhi, Advani told the party's Parliamentary Board that he did not want to continue as the Leader of the Opposition in the new Lok Sabha. But the Board insisted that he should continue. But Advani was firm.