G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, BJP’s national spokesperson, in an interview to Yojna Gusai says that his party firmly believes in the coalition dharma but cannot sacrifice its political aspirations. On the recent bypolls loss, the BJP leader claims that the dynamics of elections in bypolls are different while asserting that people’s faith and trust in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP will help the party surpass its 2014 tally in the next Lok Sabha polls.
There is a renewed effort to stitch up an “anti-BJP front” ahead of the 2019 elections. What do you have to say?
Coalitions can succeed only if they are agenda driven. When a coalition’s only motivation is to block or prevent somebody and the real instinct is actually self-preservation then such coalitions are looked at with great suspicion. In this country we have seen coalition succeed in election when the ruling dispensation was unpopular and also a coalition of parties was of a demand of the public. Quite contrary today you have a government and a Prime Minister whose popularity ratings are sky high and it is the Opposition which has been consistently losing elections and public touch. So the people realise that the political parties are purely motivated by their self-interest and will cause grievous harm to the nation’s cause for the sake of their benefit. If you study the personality, performance and the track record of Narendra Modi, you will see that he has always excelled when faced with a significant challenge. The so-called “anti-BJP front” will actually accentuate the public desire to elect Mr Modi as the Prime Minister again and will willingly make him the central focus of the 2019 campaign, which will work to the advantage of the BJP.
But you see this front more as anti-BJP or anti-Modi.
The personal comments that different party leaders make against Mr Modi leaves no one in doubt that these parties see him as a real challenge and fear complete marginalisation with Mr Modi in the lead. They realise that the Prime Minister enjoys tremendous goodwill and has an impeccable public image, which no one in the political spectrum can even attempt to challenge. Mr Modi’s incorruptible image and his modest socio-economic background are political advantages for the BJP which the Opposition finds impossible to match. Most of the Opposition parties and their leaders are either tainted or have dubious political background and they realise that it is impossible to take on him without pooling vote strengths.
But the BJP has lost some important bypolls, including the Gorakhpur and Phulpur parliamentary seats.
Unlike bypolls when people do not vote to install a government, either in the state or at the Centre, the BJP’s record in general elections, be it Assemblies or the Lok Sabha, has demonstrated that the public desires positive governance under Mr Modi’s leadership. Dynamics of election in bypolls is different as people are electing only an MP/MLA and not electing a government. As a result local and cost factors become dominant in bypolls. Whereas in general elections, issue-based voting becomes more pronounced.
The BJP’s success in all the elections from 2014 onwards is a result of the people’s yearning for good governance, which has relegated the cost and social factors into the background. The BJP is confident of the public desire for continued good governance and the Prime Minister’s leadership will subside the caste and other dynamics, and will deliver a massive victory even surpassing party’s 2014 tally.
But there were allegations that Gorakhpur and Phulpur results were a setback to the BJP and was due to your party’s arrogance?
The so-called arrogance is a complete bogey and this has been used by the Opposition unsuccessfully for the past four years and rejected repeatedly by the people. If there is any arrogance at all, it is in the completely mauled Opposition, which ought to have become subdued with its never-ending electoral defeats.
What about your allies? The BJP has lost a major ally, the TDP.
The TDP’s decision to exit the National Democratic Alliance government seems to have been a result of its political insecurity and a potential defeat in 2019 polls. The motivated allegations against the Central government are bereft of facts and mostly constitute political propaganda with a view to retrieve the lost political ground. The BJP is not responsible for the break up and sees the exit of TDP as an opportunity for growth rather than being a threat.
But then there are allegations that the BJP, which is the ruling party in the NDA, does not treat its allies properly.
The BJP has never broken its relationship with any party as we believe in coalition dharma. If the discomfort of any ally is on account of the fact that the BJP is expanding its influence and is becoming more popular, we cannot be blamed for this.
In a true sense, friendly parties have to devise ways of growing together and if any ally wants to stunt the BJP growth or expects it to sacrifice its political aspirations, could this be actually be called a friendly expectation? The BJP wants to work with its allies, but it cannot be done by sacrificing at the altar of political interest.