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HindustanTimes Mon,28 Jul 2014

Jaitley counters Sushma, says focus on winning

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 15, 2014
First Published: 21:39 IST(15/3/2014) | Last Updated: 01:14 IST(16/3/2014)

A day after senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj went public with her displeasure over the induction of BSR Congress leader B Sriramalu into the party, Arun Jaitley said leaders must not divert attention from larger issues and stressed the need for focusing on the core agenda of governance.

"We must all concentrate entirely on these issues and the ability of a Modi-led government providing a solution to these concerns.

"Relatively marginal issues such as declaration of candidates, particularly who is in and who is out, cannot be allowed to dominate the political agenda in the BJP. These issues divert the attention from the core issues of governance," Jaitley wrote in his blog.

Read: Karnataka: Sushma tweets against BJP-BSR alliance

Jaitley, who is said to have raised the matter in a BJP meeting on Saturday, said the last lap of the campaign had begun.

"The BJP needs to concentrate on consolidating its gains. The country's mood is to install a BJP-led government. Between now and the polling date, all BJP leaders and cadres must work towards the goal of adding an additional two percent votes across the country."

He added anti-incumbency and a desire for change existing on account of price rise, economic slowdown, farmers' plight, corruption, security-related issues and a leadership vacuum in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance were key issues.

"The more we emphasise the importance of this issue the larger will be the advantage..."

Swaraj had taken to Twitter on Friday, saying "Sriramulu has been admitted in the party despite my stiff opposition."

Read: Sriramulu's entry into BJP despite my stiff opposition, tweets Sushma

Many BJP leaders viewed Swaraj's tweets as a handy tool for the Congress to attack the saffron party.

Swaraj was once close to Sriramulu and the mining barons of Bellary - the Reddy brothers. But she distanced herself when corruption allegations were levelled against Janardhan Reddy.

The BJP welcomed Sriramulu despite her open objection as the Karnataka unit of the party wanted him back to avoid a split in the saffron votes.

Sriramulu had quit the BJP in 2012 to form his own party, the BSR Congress. The BSR Congress won just four seats in the assembly elections held in May last year, but ate into BJP votes. After that he tried to merge his party with the Congress. Failing in his bid, Sriramulu started lobbying with the BJP.

Reacting to Swaraj's tweets, Sriramalu, who is set to contest from Bellary on a BJP ticket, said, "She is my mother and will remain my mother until my death. I will go and request her, if I have done any wrong, please forgive me."

BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "People are getting involved in this battle for good governance. There may be some objections, but the party is together... moving forward and working together to hoist the flag in the battle of good governance and making Modi the PM."


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