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Hindutva won't be BJP's plank for the 2014 LS polls: Ashok Malik

Updated: April 1, 2013, 5:26 PM IST
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Hindutva won't be BJP's plank for the 2014 LS polls: Ashok Malik
A new-look BJP parliamentary board and its preparations for the 2014 general elections.

BJP's 'Team 2014' has brought in Narendra Modi, Varun Gandhi and Amit Shah. But Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Arjun Munda are some of the prominent names left out of the party's parliamentary board. With general elections just about a year away, is Rajnath Singh steering the party on to the right path? Senior journalist Ashok Malik joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. Narendra Modi is a local hero promoted by media and by some good work. But he should have brought out from Gujarat for some years before promoting hi as the prime ministerial candidate? Asked by: prathap

A. I don't think there's a hard and fast rule. On the other hand, he's demonstrated his record in governance that much longer.

Q. By filling up with hardliners will definitely be detrimental to BJP in the coming elections? Asked by: prathap

A. Er, where has it been "filled up with hardliners"?

Q. Narendra Modi is a local satrap, who is now above BJP and RSS how can he lead when other leaders like Sushama swaraj is available and who is more acceptable to other chief ministers and leader of BJP. Asked by: prathap

A. That's your point of view. It's not a question.

Q. It is a sorry sight that BJP brought Varun Gandhi a by product of emergency only because of Gandhi/Nehru tag? Asked by: prathap

A. To some degree you have a point. It reflects the paucity of young talent in the party in UP.

Q. Rajnath Singh seems to have an outstanding record of destroying BJP given half a chance. He was the chief reason between Advani Kalyan mistrust. Am I reading it wrong? Asked by: Kamal Agg

A. Vajpayee and Kalyan, yes.

Q. Sir, how to counter and reply media's claim that BJP is returning to soft Hindutva, or things like that concluded from announcement of new team?because as we all knew Varun Gandhi has shown some prominence and foresight during Anna's movement and one event can't describe everything about him, Uma may pursue some of the so called agenda of Hindus like Ganga Nirmal and ram temple issue but one is more Indian issue and other the is no problem with court order? So why and how this conclusion? Asked by: purushottam

A. The BJP would do well to not react to every media claim, counter-claim or question.

Q. Sir, your prediction for pre-poll NDA? NDA-JD(U)+AIADMK +CHAUTALA+TRS or something else? Asked by: Kamal Agg

A. Too early to say. I don't expect too many new pre-poll allies, but let's see how Modi's appeal plays itself out.

Q. BJP for once is shown clear initiative in winning the 2014 elections by declaring their team early. But how would their prospects be? They may not be able to win the South (without any alliance). Their alliance with JD(U) is not at its best. Punjab may vote differently in case of a national election. UP - Their prospects look bleak. Plus they are under very high pressure. If they do not win in 2014 they may never get to rule India? So what are the 3 things, you would suggest they do quickly to win in 2014? Asked by: Narayan

A. I disagree with you. I think the BJP is set to surprise people in UP.

Q. Despite being a prominent politician commanding a base in Bhagalpur and having a reputation of being a secular Muslim, why is Shahnawaz Hussain continously sidelined from any top-rung post in BJP? Asked by: Arun Ramakrishnan

A. Please ask the BJP.

Q. How will you rate this team selection by rajnath singh taking in account GE 2014? Asked by: anil

A. Not too bad, would have preferred a woman in the team of general secretaries though.

Q. As we all know that not all can be included in a team.But Media making hue and cry over not including Yashwant/Jaswant/Shivraj. What's your take? Will it hurt BJP in GE 2014? Asked by: anil

A. No.

Q. In your opinion, will Modi try to further the RSS agenda? Or, like its apparent off late, he will try to project BJP as more of a economic right wing party? Asked by: Oliver

A. Economic growth and governance. These are his calling cards.

Q. Why there is so much of excitement over the Constitution of the Team of BJP President Rajnath Singh? Is it wrong to give prominence to Narendra Modi ho is now the First Choice for PM Post in various surveys? Is it not the BJP that faces the consequences whether good or bad? Asked by: raghavaraokaravadi

A. What is your specific question to me?

Q. Sir, How far the BJP leadership is justified in inducting a tainted Amit Shah in its core team? Asked by: Shyam Vadalker

A. The party believes the CBI is framing him.

Q. Congress knowing fully well that the new dispensation of BJP cannot clear the mess created I'm Karnataka earlier in the short time is trying to project the Karnataka elections as a indicator of the popular graph. Dont you think they need to what for the elections in Delhi, Rajasthan, eye to know where they actually stand? Asked by: AKS

A. True.

Q. Modi is the solution we need if we want to save India. He has proved himself in Gujarat and has projected his ideas in various places like SRCC etc. He has a vision and we need to support him. Lets not get carried away by the pseudo secularist who only play the minorities card. I think this time their votes would be divided as they would be fighting each other. What is your take on this? Asked by: AKS

A. Please google my articles.

Q. Will the Karnataka elections be a precursor test for the new team? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Karnataka is a lost cause for the BJP I think. It will hurt the party that it squandered a mandate in this manner.

Does the new team evoke a favourable response from allies and will the NDA continue to be cohesive? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. For better or worse, the BJP is thinking of itself and not of an NDA or NDA plus.

Q. Will this new team be in a position to deliver results in UP & Bihar in Lok Sabah elections? With almost negligible chances in South India how will the new team manage effective results in North India which has a major share of seats in Lok Sabha. Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, especially if the JD(U) breaks away, will test Modi. If he does well here, there's no stopping him. If not, it's another story.

Q. Sir, What is the importance to leaders like Ramlal and Thanvir Gehlot(who is in CPB plus election committee) Is BJP lost out on talent? Asked by: sk4

A. Please ask that question to the party.

Q. Who is Boss in BJP now Rajnath Singh or Narandra Modi? Asked by: prathap

A. The energy is with Modi.

Q. Do you think that if BJP preforms badly in Karnataka, it will have negative impact in 2014 election? Asked by: Anshu

A. It will hurt the BJP because it would have squandered a mandate. But the UPA's anti-incumbency challenge in 2014 will be very very high.

Q. Do you see BJP supporting Nitish kumar as a PM candidate in case if need arises Asked by: Rohan

A. Only if the two national parties both do badly and are restricted to 120 or 125 seats and a third front in inevitable.

Q. I believe that Modi should be projected as PM candidate. Do you think that BJP is still reluctant to project Modi as a prime ministerial candidate? What is your advice to BJP? Asked by: Guruprasad V

A. There is no option to Modi. I think the party recognises that.

Q. Do you think BJP was late in giving responsibilities to Varun. he might have improved party's tally in the 2012 assembly elections. Asked by: satyendra

A. The generational change in UP is long overdue. Varun is only one face, the party needs several others.

Q. Why do you say BJP will surprise in UP? Any indicators? Asked by: gk

A. That's my sense and feedback from the ground.

Q. Barring a youth leader what extra Varun Gandhi can give BJP in UP where infighting is at it's peak. Asked by: satyendra

A. He represents a gamble that the party has taken. But such gambles have to be taken in politics. Some work, some don't.

Q. Can Modi change the fortunes for BJP in Karnataka if he campaigns there? Asked by: Naveen

A. Vidhan Sabha elections? Doubt it. He's not the chief ministerial candidate.

Q. Do you Think Rajnath's real test will be how he takes along Uma, Varun, Kalyan and deliver results in UP and if he does maybe a threat for Modi? Asked by: Rohan

A. Modi is more of a draw in UP today than all the others you've mentioned, even if put together.

Q. If BJP looses Karnataka then is it mean that it will also perform badly in LS election in Karnataka or it might perform well also? Asked by: Raghab

A. Opinion polls suggest an anti-incumbency sentiment against both the state and Union governments.

Q. Declaring NaMo as PM candidate can change the focus from Misrule of Congress to Secular-Communal debate. Can BJP / NaMo risk this? What do you think? Asked by: Abhishek Chaudhari

A. I don't think the BJP has an option.

Q. Why does BJP reluctantly not making any effort to spread its wings to North East? will it jeopardize its 2014 dream? Asked by: Rajkumar

A. There is some hope in Assam and maybe Arunachal Pradesh but overall, yes, local leaders have to be built.

Q. Its clear that BJP can ill-afford RSS and VHP to hijack its election campaign by their own agenda. Will Modi and the new team be able to tame these 2 outfits? Asked by: Patrick

A. Consider his record in Gujarat.

Q. What will BJP do if it loses next elections? Will give up on Hinduvta? Asked by: karan

A. I don't understand the question. The BJP is not fighting the next election on Hindutva.

Q. Kudos to BJP for giving place to many women. But Nirmala Seetharaman deserved a rise and also Ravi Shankar Prasad. Does Rajnath blind to their accomplishments? Asked by: sk4Q. Is the BJP not happy with Kirit Somaiyya, who has been exposing a number of scandals in Maharashtra thereby putting NCP leadership in awkward position? Asked by: Shyam Vadalker

A. No idea.

Q. Shahid Siddiqui said on NDTV that Allies coming to BJP with Modi as head depends on the seats BJP wins and not any ideology. Your comment, sir. Asked by: sk4

A. He's perfectly right.

Q. Sir, non inclusion of Navjyoti Sidhu, Nirmala Seetharaman, Yashwant Sinha is a setback. How Rajnath makes this mistake? Asked by: sk4

A. Already answered this in various questions.

Q. Sir from my interactions with some of the people whom I know it seems that even the neutral and undecided voters have started to believe in Modi as a kind of 'saviour'. Do you really think that projecting Modi as PM candidate will be good for the BJP or will it backfire? Asked by: Shiv

A. Today, Modi's appeal exceeds the BJP's.

Q. Everybody saying real test for Modi will be Karnataka. Is it not the test of RG/Congress? Asked by: anil

A. Karnataka is not Modi's test and is not Rahul's test either.

Q. Will the Karnataka elections be a precursor test for the new team ? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Already answered.

Q. Katiyar Vs Varun - is it a matter of sour grapes? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Time waits for no man ...

Q. Why so much hype...such exercises are routine for any political party going for elections. Nation knows who can deliver and who will not. The people are more mature...and wise. Asked by: sundararaja123

A. Agreed. But media has to make a living on a slow news day, I guess.

Q. The right team, termed as saffron, by critics is of senior leaders known in the party. The fear of their going aggressive on Hinduvta is real or a scare spread by the opponents? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. I don't think Hindutva is going to be the theme of the coming election.

Q. Modi has always been appreciated for his governance. Being a keen BJP watcher do you feel its really true or just a media hype? Asked by: Gaurav

A. Substantially true.

Q. Sir, To increase Modi's impact will it be good for him to contest in UP,Bangalore South,and Patna or Bhopal.Will create a wave? Your view Asked by: sk4

A. Too early to speculate on such specifics.

Q. Do you see an over Modi_rahul face-off in LS2014? Asked by: Anish

A. In some form, yes.

Q. Sir In TN with Zero presence of BJP survey of over 5900 voters revealed 60 percent wish him to be PM and Rahul finishing very late. Last mile BJP workers/unattached voters would be enthused by Modi across states your view Asked by: sk4

A. Agree.

Q. Should BJP declare development/governance as their new Ram Mandir? Asked by: Abhishek Chaudhari

A. Innovative suggestion.

Q. If you were Modi, which 2 LS seats wud you fight from? Asked by: Anish

A. I am not Modi and I have no desire to fight elections.

Q. Does the inclusion of Narendra Modi in Team BJP mean that they are ready to project him as PM candidate? Asked by: Shyam Vadalker

A. I would think so.

Q. Getting 180+ like 1998/9 will be extremely difficult for the BJP with or without Modi. Will they get enough allies at 160? Asked by: Thakur Prasad

A. Let's not get down to speculating on numbers.

Q. Why is Media always projecting a negative image of Modi? Asked by: KS

A. Ask that question to those who can answer it better.

Q. How many seats, at least, in your view should the BJP win, in order to make sure that the party gets enough allies that back Modi as PM? Asked by: HARSH PODDAR

A. At least repeat what Vajpayee got in 1998 and 1999.

Q. Does Modi needs to contest from UP to ensure a wave over there? Your views Asked by: sk4

A. He needs to campaign in UP, whether he contests from there or otherwise.

Q. In your previous replies you said that BJP will not contest the elction on Hindutva factor. Going by the inclusion of Shah and Gandhi we may expect that. What is your calculation in case BJP goes the Hindutva way? Will that work or boomerang? Asked by: Shah

A. I stand by my previous answer.

Q. Don't you think that Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi deserved a post? Asked by: Yogesh K

A. She's spokesperson, I thought.

Q. Modi campaigned in Himachal & not only got egg on face but failed miserably in the job. He spoke things which even many in the BJP regretted. Is he really a national leader material or a mere frog in the well ? Does he have it in him to mobilise national opinion? Asked by: Shekhar

A. I'm also eager to find out. We'll have the answer in 13 months.

Q. Will Modi at the helm, help the BJP consolidate its existing voter base or will his appeal win the party previously unexplored territories? Asked by: Ashwin

A. As I said, today his appeal surpasses the BJP's. How many seats that would amount and where is anybody's guess.

Q. How much will the new team BJP be able to eat into Regional Parties seats in UP? Asked by: Patrick

A. It also needs to eat into the Congress' seats. The Congress won 21 seats out of 80 in 2009, if I remember correctly.

First Published: April 1, 2013, 5:26 PM IST
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