New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday termed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s big win in state polls as people’s endorsement of demonetisation and asserted that it was seen as pro-poor, reformist and the sole defender of the nationalist constituency in the country.
Jaitley also slammed the Congress for its “historic” blunders including opposing demonetisation and identifying with anti-national activities like the one in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) which wanted to break the country. Noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extensive campaign in Uttar Pradesh gave the party “cutting edge”, Jaitley also termed the Manipur result as historic as the party advanced from having no seats to a possibility of forming a government.
“Lotus of development blooms in Manipur. Congratulations to BJP Karyakartas & people of Manipur on a historic win in the assembly elections,” he tweeted. He however admitted that in Punjab, the two-term anti-incumbency had taken its toll. “Historic victory of BJP in UP & Uttarakhand assembly elections shows people’s support for development agenda of PM,” he tweeted.
Talking about Congress’s two blunders, Jaitley said that the first one was to oppose demonetisation as by doing so, it made sure that the poor as an electoral constituency shift to the BJP. He said the second blunder was when symbols of anti-national activities in the country was seen like the JNU slogans, one found the tallest Congress leader going and identifying with them.
“So BJP became the sole defender of the nationalist constituency and in the run up to the election, we are seen as pro-poor, we are seen as economically a reformist and a sole defender of the nationalist constituency of the country,” he said. “Congress conceded that advantage to us in the run up to the election,” Jaitley said. “BJP’s landslide victory in assembly elections has again established that people of India want development as pushed by PM,” he said in his tweet.
Noting that Prime Minister’s extensive campaign in UP gave the party a cutting edge, Jaitley said in the last two phases where Modi campaigned three days in a row, out of the 89 seats, BJP won close to 70. The policies of the government in the last three years have been endorsed.
The poor have shifted towards BJP in a big way, Jaitley said. He pointed out that this shifting of poor was because the benefits of economic growth, larger revenue and policies like Jan Dhan, money into their bank accounts, free gas connections or demonetisation were directed towards the poor. He said that non-payment of taxes creates an unjust enrichment in the favour of tax evaders and this money would actually be used for poor and for the country.
He said that the average man or the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) understood the argument that non-payment of taxes creates an unjust enrichment in favour of tax evaders. The social coalition which was supporting the BJP was very large, almost akin to a rainbow coalition and combination of several factors helped BJP to secure this victory, the finance minister added.
Noting that the result in Manipur is historic, Jaitley said that BJP is hoping to form a government there and looking at northeastern states like Assam, Arunanchal Pradesh and Manipur, the party has made an advancement. He said that in Manipur from a zero-seat situation, the BJP is in a position to form the government and therefore Manipur is the most significant victory.
Elaborating about the result in Punjab, Jaitley said that the BJP ran a good government with its senior partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the state has seen a lot of growth and development. “There was a two-term anti-incumbency which has taken its toll. But as was being predicted, we (BJP) are down but not out. We still got 31 per cent of the vote which is reasonably high percentage. We will play the role of a good opposition, safeguard public interest and hope for a comeback sooner or later,” he said.
Jaitley noted that the government has never slowed down on reforms and from day one it has moved in one direction and will continue to move in that direction. Noting that the government wants a higher growth, more reforms for higher growth and use resources for the benefit of the poor, he said that as far as demonetisation is concerned, it is certainly an endorsement of BJP’s policy.
Adding that demonetisation was not a referendum, he said that it was extremely popular among the people and the opposition to it was confined to Parliament and disruption of Parliament in one session while on the streets there was not a single protest anywhere. This vote itself has shown the fact that the poor rallied around the government, which really means that this was an extremely popular move among the people, Jaitley said.
Asked about the loan waiver promised by BJP in Uttar Pradesh, he said every state has to manage its own resources and when the new government takes over, its leadership will take that into consideration and implement the promise that they have made.
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