With the first phase of the LS polls kicking off from Monday, the BJP has braced itself for what its strategists say is a “final” assault from the Congress and its "friends" — stoking fears about PM candidate Narendra Modi’s coming to power at the Centre.
“Irresponsible and laughable” tweeted BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman after a social organisation, ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy), demanded that the elections be postponed as the EVMs were open to manipulation. It hinted at a "nexus" between the BJP and the Election Commission.
Shabnam Hashmi, founder member of ANHAD, said, "Modi wants to rule at the Centre and for this, his party will go to any extent like manipulating the EVMs."
She also hinted at a "nexus between the BJP and the EC as all complaints being sent to it are not being acted against. Somewhere there is infiltration in the EC. We cannot have free and fair elections with EVMs".
Sitharaman and other BJP strategists said groups like ANHAD were trying to spread doubts about the mandate as they "feared" that it would not favour the Congress or the Left.
On Saturday, finance minister P Chidambaram, too, added to the BJP’s suspicion about the Congress’ assault strategy. He said there would be serious consequences if Modi becomes PM and warned the BJP that it too would pay a heavy price for letting him and his "coterie" "take over" the party.
But senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley hit back at Chidambaram, saying the remark reflects that the Congress is resigned to its defeat and is reeling under a "great sense of depression".
Jaitley said, "Chidambaram’s statement presumes that Narendra Modi is becoming the PM and now he is preparing for the next round of politics. Well, let him take over and then they are entitled to comment on his performance."
Modi himself had hinted at such a campaign against him. He said last week: "Day and night, I think of how to solve the problems of the country, how to counter poverty, how to control price rise, how to meet the aspirations of youth and women. I seek solutions for the country and they are trying to find a solution to me.’’