His shrewd strategy is said to be behind BJP’s successful poll performance in key states like Bihar, Punjab, Gujarat and Karnataka. This time also, Arun Jaitley, BJP’s national general secretary, is at the helm, managing the party’s strategy in Delhi.
The BJP might have been trounced in the Delhi assembly polls barely six months ago, but Jaitley is confident his party will come back this time. In an interview with Moushumi Das Gupta, he explains why he is so confident.
The Lok Sabha polls are being held six months after the assembly elections. What makes you think the public mood will change in BJP’s favour?
If there is one issue that can make the Congress lose all 7 seats, it’s the mess of the education system it has pushed Delhi into. There has been an exorbitant fee hike along with the compulsion to pay arrears. The middle class is feeling the pinch. Even as the city’s education system is burning, the Neros in Delhi government are fiddling. Recession, job losses, high food prices and poor public transport system are other issues bothering citizens. Delhi is a city that reacts to such issues.
This is the first time BJP will go to polls without stalwarts like Sahib Singh Verma, Madan Lal Khurana and V.K. Malhotra. Will this impact its performance?
Politics is like nature. It abhors vacuum and generational change is its integral part. These leaders were legends. They led the party for decades. Most of them are engaged in the new leadership process.
Your honest assessment of BJP’s prospects in Delhi this time.
We are going to improve significantly.
Do you think the Congress’ decision to replace Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler will help BJP?
The albatross of 1984 still hangs around the Congress’ neck. It will make a difference both in its vote and credibility.
What went wrong during the assembly elections?
We took some decisions like repeating sitting candidates and excluding all municipal councillors, who are upcoming leaders. We restricted our selection and compromised on winnability.
Do you think the result would have been different had you been projected as the CM face?
It's a hypothetical question. I do not want to comment.
Would denial of tickets to Sahib Singh Verma’s son Parvesh turn the Jat votes against BJP?
Akalis in Punjab, INLD in Haryana and Rashtriya Lok Dal in western UP are Jat electoral arithmetic that we have worked out very strongly this time. The Jat community has been traditionally anti-Congress. Parvesh is a dynamic man. It’s my regret we could not accommodate him.