The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will not only follow the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) electoral style of door-to-door campaigning and seeking donations from the public, but will also push for candidates with “credibility” in the forthcoming general elections.

On Thursday, senior leader Arun Jaitley said the party has understood the relevance of putting up “clean candidates” and its impact on the fortunes of a party at the hustings.

Citing the cases of Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh, both of whom recently won the third term as Chief Ministers in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh respectively, Mr. Jaitley said both the BJP leaders were voted because of their performance and credibility. “Factors, including social and political combinations, may be important; it was credibility that matter the most,” he said in a statement released here.

“At any given point of time, polls rated his [Mr. Chouhan] acceptability as higher than the BJP. Raman Singh’s personal credibility coupled with the success of the public distribution system that he created saw the BJP through. Both these Chief Ministers served the people well.” He attributed the drubbing that the Congress faced in the Assembly polls in Rajasthan and Delhi to the party’s eroded credibility.

“Delhi was the epicentre of anti-corruption movement in the past three years. The Congress had miserably failed on this count. It was, therefore, obvious that the Congress was a clear loser.”

On why the BJP did not emerge as a clear winner in Delhi, Mr. Jaitley said: “A section of the electorate was impressed with the idea of experimenting with a new alternative. It was a silent protest against the quality of conventional politics that gave a significant number of votes to the AAP. Even though the BJP emerged as the largest party in terms of votes and seats, the election results of Delhi are a cause of introspection for the BJP.”

He, however, had a word of caution for the Delhi BJP unit. He said the leaders and individual candidates will have to measure up to popular expectations. “The installation of Dr. Harshvardhan as the party’s unquestioned leader in Delhi is a step in the right direction. However, the party in Delhi will have to do a lot more in order to strengthen the perception of its own credibility.”

Mr. Jaitley said the people have indicated that they want credible politics and, “those who chose to defy this expectation can only risk their existence.”

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