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Victory not because of Godhra, riots: BJP
December 15, 2002 13:13 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party on December 15 dismissed the claim the Godhra carnage and the subsequent communal violence were behind its imminent victory in the Gujarat assembly election.
The success, party spokesperson Arun Jaitley said, owed a lot to the BJP leadership's popularity, including that of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his MLAs.
"I think the people of Gujarat strongly reacted to the negative campaign by Congress discrediting the state," he said.
"Modi was certainly a key figure during campaign. But the entire BJP central leadership including the prime minister, deputy prime minister and about 40 national leaders had actively campaigned."
He ruled out any major changes at the Centre, now that Modi's hardline campaign has paid dividends.
The election, Jaitley said, was won not just on Hindutva; the party had highlighted several other issues, like the BJP government's performance, and developmental activities including roads, communication, electricity and water.
And it is not as if only the BJP played the Hindu card, he said, the Congress did that too, though in a 'softer' way.
The Election Commission had postponed the poll by a couple of months, against the BJP's wishes, in the name of fair play, he said, but when it conducted the exercise, it did so with 'irregular' voters list.
"The EC needs an introspection," Jaitley said.
The spokesperson was confident the government-formation would not be a problem.
The victory, he said, is of added significance as the party has substantially improved its position despite a combined opposition by the Congress and other parties.
Asked whether BJP's good performance was a 'qualified victory' as it did well in most places where riots took place, he said, "It was not a riot-centric election."
Modi is a mature leader, Jaitley said, who knows how to run a people-friendly administration.
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