Debating India

Godhra behind party’s defeat: BJP

Wednesday 26 May 2004

New Delhi: The BJP feels that the Godhra incident and the Gujarat riots adversely affected its poll prospects in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

According to party sources, the Opposition, mainly the Congress, encashed on the Gujarat riots. As many as one million compact discs and cassettes on Gujarat were shown by the Opposition in various parts of the country during the election campaign. As a result, a majority of the Muslims and some other communities voted against the BJP not only in Gujarat but in other parts of the country too.

Sources said the BJP’s plank of development and national security was nullified by the Opposition by highlighting the Gujarat incidents among the masses.

"Atalji se pyar, par Modi se dar’’ (Although minorities liked Ataliji, they were scared of Modi), a senior BJP leader privately confessed. He, however, parried a query on how the government with its intelligence machinery failed to learn about this at the time of LS election.

Top party leaders, including former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani and party president M Venkaiah Naidu, have held a series of meetings in the last few days to assess the political situation and identify the causes of the party’s debacle at the hustings besides finalising the party’s strategy to embarass the Congress-led coalition government inside and outside Parliament.

An informal meeting was held this morning at Vajpayee’s residence which was attended by Advani, Naidu, Jaswant Singh, Sushma Swaraj, V K Malhotra, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, S S Ahluwalia and Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Naqvi, after the meeting, said a host of issues including the BJP’s strategy for the coming Lok Sabha session and the election of the Leader of Opposition, were discussed. He denied that the meeting went into the causes of the party’s poor showing in the elections.

Naqvi said the party had decided to play the role of an "effective, constructive an aggressive" Opposition inside and outside Parliament. It was also decided to keep a watch on all issues of national importance and these would be highlighted to take to task the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

The first session of the new Lok Sabha begins on June 2.

The differences among the partners of the UPA were already coming to the fore. "Different voices being aired by allies while finalising the Common Minimum Programme of the UPA are already creating doubts in the minds of the people about the longevity of the coalition government," Naqvi remarked.

He said the BJP was keeping a close watch on the government and trying to understand the situation and would adopt its strategy accordingly.

Besides, he said, the meeting discussed organisational matters like appointment of 20 office bearers, the 80-member working committee and six morchas.

P.S.

in Sify News, Wednesday, May 26, 2004.

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