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'BJP tried politicising Mumbai terrror attacks'

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | December 08, 2008 23:29 IST

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'Terrorism and economy will be the two issues that we will concentrate on in the coming days," said a visibly relieved Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office, after all the Assembly results came in.

The Congress has got the badly needed psychological advantage.

After the Mumbai terror attacks, a Congress defeat in the National Capital would have been logical or expected. But it was not to be. 

Even the Congressmen were expecting a poll thrashing by people for mishandling the issue of security, but to their surprise they find that people have taken the entire issue above party politics and electoral politics, making it a national issue.

They could not believe their luck that the BJP's campaign on the Mumbai attack has proven counter- productive.

In New Delhi [Images], the Congress and even some BJP leaders were saying that first time the Indian electorate seems to be changing and instead of emotional issue they are voting for  development in combination of strong regional leader with clean image.

Talking about the use of terrorism issue in the elections, Chavan said, "I think people expect the BJP to stand shoulder to shoulder with government to fight the menace of terrorism. People didn't appreciate the advertisement that highlighted the attack in Mumbai by splashing blood on pages of newspapers. Terrorism [Images] is a serious issue. We should look at it from a national point view. The BJP took a party line. It tried to take political mileage out of the terror attack. People didn't like it."

Admitting that it will be an issue in the Lok Sabha elections too, he said, "The issue of terrorism is serious. It should not go away from public discourse but we should debate about how do we tackle the threat. We should come out together with the strategy of terrorism. We need the Opposition on board to do that."  

Talking about the Congress's win in Rajasthan, he said, "Here the people had before them CM Raje's model of development and Ashok Gehlot's model. People have picked up Gehlot's development model."

However, the Congress has not announced Gehlot's name for the CM's post yet.

Rather, the Congress has not yet attributed the victory completely in New Delhi to Sheila Dixit.

Five years ago when she had won second time in New Delhi she had to wait for one week before her name was cleared for the chief minister's post by party president Sonia Gandhi [Images].

When asked by rediff.com, if the New Delhi victory is Sheila Dixit's victory, Chavan stuck to the party line," No. It's Congress's victory. Like Sheila Dixit every Congressmen should be congratulated. She must be complimented for running a good government."

Asked about the huge defeat in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, he said, 'That's a cause of worry. We will find out what went wrong. One factor that helped Shivraj Chouhan is that he was in power since last three years only. People might have thought let us give him one full term. He had a sympathy factor."

Asked to comment about using these trends in the Lok Sabha constituencies where the Congress is not in comfortable positions, Chavan said, 'You can't interpolate five States on the entire country. If I can draw one lesson out of these elections, I would say the people have expected good development and voted for it."

About Mayawati's [Images]  Bahujan Samaj party's emergence,  Chavan acknowledged its growth in New Delhi but, he said it's still not a national party. It has no presence in South, he said.

Chavan assured that government would come out with many more measures to increase buying power of people in rural area and some more relief to manufacturing sectors will be given.

He conceded, however, that from where money to provide these concessions, would come in is a question.






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