The BJP is the front runner in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and is poised to form the government, senior party leader Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday. He dismissed the possibility of Narendra Modi being replaced as the Prime Ministerial candidate.
“There is no question of an alternative leader,” Mr. Jaitley told TheHindu. “We are the front runners and will have the numbers. There is a large number of traditionally non-Congress parties outside the NDA… let us not overlook that factor.” He was replying to a question whether he would be the party’s nominee for the PM’s position if the allies demanded it and the numbers were to fall short.
Making his debut in Lok Sabha polls from Amritsar, land of the Golden Temple, Mr. Jaitley said it was a matter of concern that the 1984 anti-Sikh riots still found resonance across the country.
“Time does heal, but a very large number of people in Punjab have lost faith in the Congress. The issue [the 1984 riots] has not been put to closure by the conviction of many people. That is still a matter of concern.”
“A large part of the 2002 Gujarat riots has been given a closure… most people have been convicted. The kind of inquiries, trial and convictions should be seen in contradistinction to 1984.”
On BJP’s chances of winning, he said the party would hopefully have many more seats than it has had in the past. “The gap between us and the party that comes second will also be significant. Our allies will also get a large number of seats. And, hopefully, between the BJP and allies, we will be reasonably comfortable when it comes to forming the government.”
Dismissive of the Aam Aadmi Party, he said the contest was still between the BJP and the Congress. “Congress does not pose a serious challenge to us. The AAP is only the television opponent of the BJP; [but] on the field, it is still the Congress.”