After Goa and Punjab, the landslide victory of BJP in Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections boosted the morale of the party workers. These results are as much a vote against the Congress government in Delhi as it is against the Congress-led UPA. Amba Charan Vashishth spoke to BJP national president Shri Nitin Gadkari soon after the MCD results were out. Excerpts:
What is the message from MCD elections?
The message is loud and clear. The countdown for Congress in the State assembly next year and finally for the 2014 general election elections has begun.
Is it a victory of BJP or a defeat of Congress?
It is both a BJP victory and the Congress defeat. It is BJP victory because it was in power in MCD for the last five years. People have given BJP a big hand for its performance. It is Congress defeat because it failed on all fronts — skyrocketing prices and inflation, rising corruption, increasing number of scams and making the life of aam aadmi miserable.
What are the high points of the victory in Delhi?
BJP has successfully withstood the anti-incumbency factor. It has been able to convince the voters that the party says only what it can perform and it performs what it promises. Since civic amenities provided by local bodies concern the most in daily life of citizens, MCD ruled by BJP has been able to provide clean and efficient services to the people. It is a total rejection of the way the Central and the Sheila Dikshit government have been functioning.
Is it a vote against Delhi government?
No. It is as much against the UPA-2 Government led by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. It is a vote against the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram because the law and order is directly under the Union government. Nobody in Delhi is feeling safe, be it the girl students, working women, senior citizens or the common man. Delhi has today earned notoriety for being the Rape and Crime Capital of India
Will these results have any impact on the assembly elections to be held in Gujarat and Himachal later this year?
Certainly. Every election result has its effect on the coming election. BJP-SAD government of Sardar Parkash Singh Badal made a history by winning a consecutive second term. We recorded a handsome victory in Goa where minority community of Christians gave us a big hand of support. BJP’s six Christian nominees won comfortably. In Delhi, one Muslim councillor has won and another lost by a very narrow margin. In Uttarakhand, BJP lost power by a whisker. All this is going to have a positive impact on the voters in the coming elections.
The results of Gujarat Municipal by-elections were also positive. How do you see it?
As I said earlier, these are all positive omens for BJP.
What are the lessons the BJP has drawn from the recent setback in Uttar Pradesh election?
We have had a free and frank discussion on what went wrong. The only lesson is that the Party should always fight elections with a united zeal and spirit. Where it is in opposition it should perform the role of an effective and constructive opposition by raising the issues that touch the heart of the aam aadmi.
Media have started speculating on Prime Ministerial candidates of BJP and NDA?
I don’t want to comment on the media reports. As far as I know, BJP has not given a thought to this question as yet. The Party will take a right decision at the right time taking all the leaders in confidence.
The time-frame for organisational elections is due to be set in motion. How do you propose to manage the organisational elections?
This matter will be taken care of by the Party.
Your mission for the remainder of your term?
To ensure repeat of our BJP governments in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh this year and to lay sound foundations to capture power in Delhi and Rajasthan and to bounce back to power in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. That will facilitate our path to be in power at the Centre as a BJP-led NDA government in 2014.
How far do you think the Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev agitations impacted the election results in State assemblies and the MCD?
The movements launched by Shri Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev are social movements. They have played a vital role in mobilising the masses against corruption and black money. But these are not political movements. In fact, they have nothing to do with politics; they have no political ambition. They are not campaigning for or against any political party or candidate. BJP’s resolve to fight corruption is known to one and all.