As the sinking feeling of defeat set in, angry allies on Wednesday hit out at the BJP for its failure to raise issues concerning the common man and “not giving allies due importance” during the six-week election campaign.
Sharad Yadav (62), the JD (U) president and convenor of the BJP-led NDA, said: “The alliance campaign did not work, and the onus lies with the dominant party, the BJP.” Senior Akali Dal leader, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (73), led a more direct attack.
Issues like Afzal Guru hanging, attack on Manmohan Singh, and attempts by leaders to project Narendra Modi (59) as future PM backfired, he said. “These issues were relevant but not as important as they were made out to be.”
Asked for reasons of the NDA’s defeat, Yadav replied: “The NDA was not visible in the campaign, whereas despite so many problems, the UPA campaign clicked. We failed to convince voters about our agenda.”
Yadav said the success in Bihar was due to the positive agenda of the state’s dominant party, the JD(U). “However, in other states, where the dominant partner was the BJP, it raised issues which did not impress the common man.”
In a veiled attack on the Gujarat CM, the JD(U) chief said: “While campaigning, he at times spoke on issues which were out of track and not on the national agenda.”
Dhindsa, the Akali Dal secretary general, said: “The BJP wrongly chose to make Dr Manmohan Singh one of the main poll issues. Some of these should have been referred to in passing. There was no need to place them on the top of the election agenda.”
Dhindsa listed Varun Gandhi’s hate speech as another issue that “backfired”. “It alienated Muslim voters”. On projection of Modi as future PM candidate, he said: “When you already have one prime ministerial candidate, what was the need to project another candidate? I think this only confused the voters.”