We did not get the support we expected: Bhupender Yadav

BJP general secy Bhupender Yadav, in charge of the party’s electioneering in Bihar, talks to Liz Mathew about factors that contributed to the party’s defeat.

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You worked hard at the ground level. What went wrong?

Our opponent’s arithmetic worked. We were not been able to take our message forward. We had a lot of programmes to take our message to every class and community, but the kind of support we expected, we did not get.

You started your campaign with the development plank, but later shifted to caste and communal issues. Was that a deliberate strategy?

Our issue is still development. We have maintained since the beginning that social and economic development is our primary objective and we would go from Delhi to all states with this message. But during elections, we have to keep an eye on issues that come up. Whenever there is an issue, we have to present our viewpoint. We had to communicate our stand to the people on every issue.

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The party was counting on the youth and they seemed enthusiastic about the PM’s rallies. But they haven’t voted for the BJP.

It was true that we had hopes from the enthusiasm among youth for Modiji’s rallies. But the outcome that should have been there did not happen. This is an issue the party has to assess in detail.

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The main criticism against the BJP, mainly towards the end of the campaign, was that there was an attempt to communally polarise the electorate. Did the BJP expect Hindu voters to unite in its favour?

No, there was no issue of polarisation. There were some issues related to people and we have made our position clear on them. There was no attempt to polarise.


What about the comment that if BJP loses, crackers would be burst in Pakistan?

It was a comment with a particular context. It was in the context of how they (the Mahagathbandhan) advertised in newspapers outside India.

Many leaders have pointed out that Mohan Bhagwat’s remark on caste-based reservation damaged the party’s prospects. They say your opponents used it against you.

No, I don’t think so. The party — from the president to every leader — has clarified its position on reservation.