Former president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Nitin Gadkari on Saturday tried to underplay the spectacular performance of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi assembly elections and termed it as a "temporary political phase".
"It is a wrong projection that AAP has overshadowed the BJP as our party's seat share in Delhi has increased by eight. On five other seats, BJP candidates lost by a thin margin of up to 2,000 votes," Gadkari told mediapersons after addressing the national convention of BJP Mahila Morcha, the women cell, here.
Gadkari, also a member of the parliamentary board of the party, said the thumping victory of the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan affirms people's faith in the party's inclusive development policies.
"Arvind Kejriwal and AAP got popularity only due to social crusader Anna Hazare. As their strong differences on Lokpal and other issues have become public, the AAP will soon see its end," said the BJP leader, adding that the party was strong enough to come to power at the Centre and other states, including Haryana.
Reiterating the alliance of the BJP and Haryana Janhit Congress, he said the anti-people policies would ensure the Congress' defeat in the forthcoming elections. "Our state leadership is confident with the alliance and we have motivated the women cell of the party to play an important role to connect with people and popularise party's policies," he said.
He said the party would bring up the issues of inflation, exploitation of farmers, etc., to target the Congress regime in Haryana.
"Haryana is a hub of agriculture and industry but suffers from acute power shortage. Cultivable land was acquired at dirt cheap prices in the name of public purposes. But the same land was allotted to private players who failed to develop it to devoid the farming community of any benefit or development," he said.
Doing some plainspeak at a party workers' meeting, Gadkari said those indulging in sycophancy would not be considered as candidates in the elections.
"The BJP respects the workers with commitment but those who indulge in chamchagiri have no place in the party. It is better that all should work to connect with the underprivileged sections of society without any consideration of religion, caste or creed and women have a major role to play in this exercise," he said.
He urged the national president of BJP Mahila Morcha, Saroj Pandey, to identify workers to lead the party at various levels.
Silver offerings to leaders
While Pandey was given a silver crown and religious figurines, Gadkari accepted a silver gift given to him by the party leaders at the convention.
Both national leaders did not announce if the expensive gifts would be routed to the party or their homes.
Recently, state BJP president Ram Bilas Sharma had accepted a garland made of currency notes in Karnal when several affluent people had joined the party.
Uma sees greater role of women
BJP leader Uma Bharti said women workers would play a major role in the victory of the prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi.
"Women want law and order and it is only Modi who can ensure this," she told mediapersons here.