BJP general secretary and chief strategist Arun Jaitley, 56, looks back on his party’s campaign and talks to Shekhar Iyer of the saffron outfit’s prospects ahead of the final phase of voting. Excerpts.
Will the Lok Sabha election results be a feather in your party’s cap?
Certainly. We will emerge as the single largest party. Our success lies in the fact that the Cong-ress entered the fray as a front-runner and the most confident of all parties. Today, it is in utter confusion and in panic. It’s unsure of its return to power. But we, who were considered underdogs, have re-emerged to pose a serious challenge. The Congress did not fight on its agenda and neither did it have clarity on its leader.
After 2004’s disastrous India Shining campaign, did you deliberately choose a low-key approach this time?
I always believed that boisterousness is never an asset in poll campaigns. It is always better to be understated and then win — rather than raise everyone’s expectations and fail.
How much of the Congress’ anxiety has go to do with your campaign?
If our opponents had not underestimated our strength, they would not have messed up their alliances in UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu. The BJP’s campaign was responsible, but initially understated. Our opponents and critics did not give us any chance. No body estimated our winning chances till polling was over for more than half of Lok Sabha.
The reason for the BJP’s new-found confidence...
More and more people are defeating the Congress and its allies to enter Parliament this time. Our strike rate is better than the Congress and the Left.