As BJP reaped a rich electoral harvest in Assam after sewing up an alliance with regional parties, union minister M Venkaiah Naidu today indicated the party will go the whole hog firming up coalitions in states where it cannot win elections on its own in the future.
“Wherever there is a possibility, you must firm up alliances, you must identify issues and then strategise accordingly,” Naidu said when asked what were the major takeaways from the recent assembly elections in four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
At the same time, he dismissed the view that Congress lost the Assam polls as it did not forge an alliance, saying only forming coalitions do not yield positive results and that the performance of governments and leadership also count.
He took a jibe at Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who had said that Congress lost Assam as it opted to go it all alone.
Claiming that the election results were an “endorsement of Narendra Modi’s development agenda”, the BJP leader said the message from the assembly polls in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam, besides Puducherry was that Congress is being marginalized while “BJP is becoming a pan India party”.
In an interview to PTI, Naidu dismissed the possibility of hardline elements within the party getting strengthened in wake of victory in Assam, where BJP had made infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims a major poll plank.
“There is suspicion in the mind of people that after the opponents have been cut to size, they (hardliners) would create further trouble. That’s my counter. Why is this apprehension? Who organized it. Congress party had propped up Muslim League. It has given it credibility. It is continuing with the alliance with Muslim League in Kerala Assembly. Communists also had an alliance with Muslim League.
“What is the government’s line. Unnecessary motives are being attributed and speculations are being created and wrong propaganda is being carried out,” he said.
“What we have done in last two years that you talk of hardline...Some people are trying to divert us. I tell them join our development task, we are busy. We have no time for other issues. We will pay undivided attention to development. Our priority are development and good governance,” he said.
Asked whether he agrees with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s contention that Congress lost elections in Assam only because it did not go for an alliance, Naidu reminded that the party lost in Kerala and West Bengal despite having alliances.
“It is (also) the question of performance. Performance of Congress (governments) was bad both in Assam and Kerala. It was mired in corruption and could not deliver on promises. In Bengal, Congress and Communists came together but nothing happened.
“It’s not alliance alone, it’s your performance, your stand on issues, your approach, your leadership, your image all these things will count,” he said.
BJP has tasted victory for the first time in Assam which had returned a Congress government thrice in a row under Tarun Gogoi. Congress-led alliance was also dethroned by the Left in Kerala, while Congress-CPI(M) alliance in West Bengal and Congress-DMK alliance in Tamil Nadu had to eat humble pie.
Apart from winning Assam, BJP also bettered its performance in Kerala and West Bengal.