New Delhi: The central election committee (CEC) of the BJP is expected to meet on March 18 to decide the names of candidates for parliamentary seats going to the polls in the first phase of the total seven-part Lok Sabha polls, beginning on April 11. With the election dates being announced, the BJP held a series of meetings on Monday to devise its poll strategy. Meetings of party spokespersons, general secretaries and also the manifesto committee headed by Union home minister Rajnath Singh were held during the day.
The BJP, which is trying to build the poll narrative around the decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Monday said the yet-to-be formalised âMahagathbandhanâ (grand alliance) of the Opposition parties was a âself-destructive coalition of rivalsâ and asserted that voters will have to chose between âModi or chaosâ. The ruling party, which is seeking a second term under Mr Modiâs leadership, asserted that âone of the principal issues which occupies foremost relevanceâ in the 2019 general election is the leadership issue.
âWhat was promised to be a âMahagathbandhanâ is turning out to be a âgathbandhanâ of several conflicting gathbandhans. It is a self-destructive âcoalition of rivalsâ,â said Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in a blog highlighting the conflicts among the parties in the coailition against the BJP-led NDA. He wrote that the leadership issue in the Opposition camp is an âabsolute puzzleâ and that Congress president Rahul Gandhi is an âinadequate leaderâ.
Taking a dig at Mr Gandhi, Mr Jaitley said he was âtried, tested and failedâ and that his âlack of understanding of issues is frighteningâ, as he aspires to be the leader
of âthis chaotic packâ.
He added that the Opposition alliance was unclear and was absolutely fragile. âNone of the political parties is capable of any significant number of seats. The alliance will not have a stable nucleus. It has a set of highly ambitious, self-centred and maverick leaders. Barring the Congress and the Left, most of them have done political business with the BJP in the past. Their ideologies and commitment to their constituents are widely different,â said Mr Jaitley.
Comparing the Opposition camp with the NDA, Mr Jaitley said there were no leadership issues within the ruling alliance. âThere is absolute clarity. Narendra Modi leads the NDA and will be Prime Minister in the event of a NDA victory. His leadership is nationally accepted, his ratings are very high. His track record speaks for itself,â said Mr Jaitley. He added that the forthcoming election will be between a trusted leader and a coalition of Opposition parties with no projected leader.
âThere are multiple leaders (in the Opposition), each trying to outwit the other. They can only promise a temporary government if we go by the past precedents. One can be certain of chaos. The choice is clear â it is either Modi or chaos,â said Mr Jaitley.