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Delhi assembly poll results cause for introspection: Arun Jaitley

Thursday, 2 January 2014 - 9:11pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

BJP on Thursday accepted assembly election results in Delhi are a "cause for introspection" as people now judge political parties "more harshly" and expect credibility from them.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley today said in an article posted on the BJP website that the lesson for parties in 2014 is that the bar of expectation has been raised higher by the people and they are judging "harshly" both persons in public life and the quality of governance.

Though Jaitley attacked Congress, saying Delhi elections proved the government here had lost credibility and hence fared badly, he said BJP also needs to introspect.

He reasoned that since Delhi was the "epicenter of the anti-corruption movement" in the past three years and Congress failed miserably on this count, it ended up being a clear loser. He conceded BJP could not sweep the polls as a section of the electorate was impressed with the idea of experimenting a new alternative.

"It was a silent protest against the quality of conventional politics that gave a significant number of votes to the Aam Aadmi Party," Jaitley said.

"Even though BJP emerged as the largest party in terms of votes and seats, the election results of Delhi are a cause of introspection for the BJP. It's state leaders, as also individual candidates, will have to measure up to popular expectations," he added.

Among the corrective steps BJP is taking is to nationally approach ten crore households for collecting small donations for the party’s election expenses. This idea appears to have been borrowed from AAP which had collected small sums as donations during the Delhi elections.

Claiming that the political message of recent assembly elections in four states was that credibility matters, Jaitley said alleging Congress has still not learnt from its mistakes and continues to indulge in cover-ups be it the Virbhadra Singh case or the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

"Despite being routed in the four states, it has started the New Year with a baggage of two cover-ups. The Maharashtra government has rejected the report of the Commission of Inquiry which indicted several Congress leaders of considerable standing in the Adarsh scam," he said.

He warned such a "cover-up" can only defy public opinion and the popular expectation of cleaner and credible politics.

"Though the allegation against Shri Vir Bhadra Singh, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, of impropriety, corruption, quid pro quo and conflict of interest are fairly conclusive, the Congress Party has shamelessly decided to hold demonstrations in support of the tainted Chief Minister," he said.

The BJP leader maintained this is "defiance" of ethics, which can only earn the wrath of public opinion even more.

"The people have clearly indicated that they want credible politics. Those who chose to defy this expectation can only risk their existence," he said.

Noting that BJP did well in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly elections due to the credibility and performance of Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh respectively, Congress lost in Rajasthan as its government was hit by allegations of misconduct of its ministers and MLAs.

"The clear message of the electorate in these states was– whereas other factors including social and political combinations may be important, it was credibility that mattered the most," Jaitley said.

He charged that despite losses in four states, Congress has still not understood that credibility matters.

Jaitley also cautioned AAP that it will have to do a lot more in order to strengthen the perception of its own credibility.

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