The Lok Sabha election has turned into a referendum on BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, says Arun Jaitley, the BJP chief strategist and leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
"It’s now Modi versus the others," Jaitley told Hindustan Times on Friday in Amritsar, where he is locked in a direct contest against Congress stalwart and former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Jaitley exuded confidence that the National Democratic Alliance, after factoring in a likely tie-up with the Telugu Desam Party, "will cross the halfway mark on its own" in the Lok Sabha poll tally. "Plus, there will be a lot of non-Congress groups in the states that can cooperate and coordinate with us later," he said.
Attacking the Congress pitch for the consolidation of secular votes, Jaitley said that each election has its own agenda, and the high point of the 2014 election is that it is being fought only on the theme of governance. "Governance is the only issue in the public mindspace," he said.
"The UPA government is facing not just anti-incumbency but a huge revulsion. Attempts to bring in communal and caste agenda will not work. When things go wrong, they go horribly wrong. That’s the story of the Congress," he remarked.
On the Aam Aadmi Party factor, Jaitley said that votebank compulsions have made the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit switch from anti-corruption to anti-Modi. "And, the anti-Modism plank is not selling because Modi is the centrestage, popular figure of this election. AAP will find getting even representation in the next Parliament challenging," he added.