Despite the acknowledgment that the party’s underestimation of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) prevented it from wresting power in Delhi, the BJP Thursday indicated it won’t be paying undue attention to the new party in the Lok Sabha elections and will remain focused on its campaign against the Congress.
Addressing the party national office-bearers and state in-charges meeting on the eve of the BJP national executive meeting on Friday, party president Rajnath Singh stressed on the need to remain focused on the mission to oust the Congress from power. While he did not deem it necessary to mention AAP in his speech, the party’s political resolution is also unlikely to target AAP directly, sources revealed.
“Mission 272+ should be our focus,” BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi quoted Rajnath as having told the party’s central office-bearers. He targeted the Congress, cautioning party leaders on the alleged “deceit” that the ruling party may deploy. “The Congress, which lost the recent assembly elections, appears to have already conceded defeat. So far, it was engaged in the politics of manipulation, but now it has resorted to the politics of deception and facade,” he told party leaders, urging them to remain focused on their target. His allegation was a reference to the Congress’s attempt to corner BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi in the alleged snooping controversy.
“They are trying to corner our prime ministerial candidate, making baseless allegations against us and spreading rumours,” Trivedi said. He also indicated that “support to other parties”, which was a veiled reference to AAP, was also part of the Congress’s alleged “deception” against the BJP. Party leaders said going by Rajnath’s tone, he may avoid any reference to the AAP in his speeches at the national executive meeting as well as the national council meeting in the coming days. Party sources said the political resolution that will come up for discussion before the national executive as well as the national council will avoid any direct reference to AAP. “It is the best strategy to ignore them from top, but attack them from below to dent their credibility that they have anyway started losing fast,” said a senior BJP leader.
The BJP’s political resolution, however, is likely to take an indirect swipe at AAP’s credentials to occupy anti-Congress space at the national level when it is running its government with Congress’s support in Delhi, sources said. “There will be no direct reference to AAP in the resolution. Indirectly, their credibility will be questioned on the grounds that they are running a government with the Congress’s help,” said a party leader. “We are considering AAP as an opponent in the same way as parties like RLD, RJD, SP and BSP that have been aligned with the Congress against the BJP,” said a BJP leader.
The national executive is slated to take up discussion on the two resolutions — political and economic — to finalise them for placing it before the party national council on Saturday.
At Tri Nagar, Smriti Irani centered her speech around Modi, with over 10 references in 11-minute extempore.