Neena Vyas

Party’s thought and ideology have won as much as the leadership, says Rajnath

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in Gujarat, its fourth consecutive win in the State, was described by its leaders as “historic,” even as the party began believing that it marked the start of its “comeback trail” at the Centre.

Senior-most leader L.K. Advani described the victory as a “turning point in national politics because it signals the BJP’s comeback as the frontrunner in the next parliamentary election.”

BJP president Rajnath Singh said “the party’s thought and ideology have won as much as the leadership and performance of its Gujarat government under Narendra Modi.”

Drums and firecrackers made the celebrations a noisy affair amid distribution of sweets.

Party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the win would work as a glue to fasten the United Progressive Alliance, as it would be afraid of a “resurgent BJP.”

Jayalalithaa’s message

Mr. Prasad said AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa had sent a congratulatory note to Mr. Modi, saying his victory had brought “hope and cheer to the vast majority of people” in the country, who now believed that all was not lost and that India could still be saved from the clutches of “unscrupulous power mongers.” She also rang up Mr. Advani to congratulate him. It was seen as a signal that the AIADMK could well become a partner of the National Democratic Alliance in the next Lok Sabha election.

At a meeting of the BJP’s Parliamentary Board on Sunday, Mr. Rajnath Singh asked Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu to go to Gandhinagar – Om Mathur is already there – to attend Monday’s legislature party meeting as observers when Mr. Modi is to be re-elected leader. He is to be sworn in Chief Minister for the third time on December 27— the first time was in October 2001.

Mr. Jaitley felt the victory was a result of several factors: one, the party has a strong base in the State as it had not lost an election since 1985; two, the Narmada waters had helped a large number of farmers increase their incomes substantially; three, the Modi charisma was not flimsy like that of a film actor but based on “integrity, decisiveness and performance”; four, contrary to a popular perception, barring a few RSS/VHP leaders, the sangh parivar was supportive of the Modi brand of Hindutva; and five, the victory was also the result of a “directionless” Congress campaign, which was “noise without substance.”

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