National

Modi more popular than party, says Jaitley

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday accepted that its prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi is more popular than the party itself. Commenting on the projections made by recent opinion polls, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said the results of at least two such polls show a surge in Mr. Modi’s popularity and acceptability as prime minister after the 2014 general elections.



“The most significant factor in these opinion polls has been that Narendra Modi's acceptability as prime ministerial candidate is about 15 to 20 per cent higher than the BJP vote in each state. His ability to pull the party up in strong areas and contribute to its vote percentage in the non-strong areas is evident. How else can we justify the projected 17 per cent vote share in Tamil Nadu and 25 per cent in Odisha,” he said in a statement.

The BJP leader said even though he does not give much credence to opinion polls and is not “a great believer in the accuracy of the seat projections”; the indicators cannot be overlooked as the polls at this stage are trying to catch the trend of the current level of the public opinion.

He ruled out the possibility of a Third Front and said smaller parties cobbling together a group can never provide a stable Government. Indicating the regrouping of NDA allies, Mr. Jaitley said: “A logical conclusion is that a stable Government can only be the BJP led Government and the NDA. In terms of these indications, it should lead to a Government of greater NDA which Atalji [former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee] had formed. A number of parties who constituted the greater NDA are poised to do well. The greater NDA should in addition to the existing NDA parties comprise of regional parties which occupy the non-Congress space in their States.”

The opinion polls results were however trashed by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari. He was dismissive of the trends that show BJP having an edge over the Congress and other parties.

"After demolishing all surveys and analyses, when results of 2014 Lok Sabha elections come, you'll find that with God's grace and support of people those who have given Prime Ministers to the country are back in power and those who have given Prime Ministerial candidates are again back in their permanent place, the Opposition," Mr. Tewari told reporters here.

Attacking Mr. Modi, he said the BJP government in Gujarat worked only for a few capitalists.

"If you analyse the administration in what is called the Gujarat model, five crore Gujaratis have lagged behind while 5-6 capitalists have progressed. So if the farmers are protesting there, they are doing the right thing," he said.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2020 8:39:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/modi-more-popular-than-party-says-jaitley/article5614660.ece

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