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Demonisation of Modi by media helped BJP: Jaitley

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
December 15, 2002 23:11 IST
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Demonisation of caretaker Chief Minister Narendra Modi by the English press and some television networks helped the Bharatiya Janata Party win the Gujarat election, party general secretary Arun Jaitley said in New Delhi on Sunday.

He said the party had evolved a three-pronged strategy to fight the Gujarat election. "We decided to make the country's fight against terrorism our main poll plank.We had to fight the anti-incumbency factor against the Central and state governements as also against sitting MLAs. By projecting Modi [as the party's chief ministerial candidate] we were able to fight all these successfully. Third and the most important challenge was the fatwahs issued to Muslims to vote for the Congress. Our answer was to secure hundred per cent [Hindu] vote against it," he said.

He said the BJP's victory in Gujarat was more significant because in previous elections the party had won in three-cornored contests, benifitting from division of vote between the Congress and the third contestant. "This time it was a one-to-one fight with Shankersinh Vaghela leading the Congress campaign."

He criticised the Congress for accusing the BJP of a divisive propaganda, but itself seeking sadhu's assistance to gather crowds at its rallies.

"We would be bringing out a pamphlet highlighting the manner in which the Congress campaigned in Gujarat. Sonia Gandhi went to Ambaji temple just because the BJP leaders went there before launching their campaign," he said.

Jaitley asserted that Modi gave a clean administration to the people of Gujarat. "He was above board in this matter," he said.

Rejecting the suggestion that the BJP won by harping on a communal line, he said: "Just because the pollsters have gone wrong does not mean that our victory could be described as [a] communal victory," he said.

He said it was unprecendented for any party to get more then 50 per cent of the votes cast in any election. "This victory is historic in that sense," he added.


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Onkar Singh in New Delhi