New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley attributed BJP's sweep of Uttar Pradesh to the width of the party's social alliance and said it was high time the Congress decided if it was a political party or just a crowd around a family.
To a pointed question by News18 on whether Modi was like Indira Gandhi in creating a constituency of the poor, he replied in the affirmative, “But with one difference, she used slogans, she didn’t take steps. In order to implement garibi hatao you need resources with the state for which you need economic growth. So with a 2%-3% Hindu rate of growth in those days, obviously she didn’t have the resources to spend on the poor. And I think the present government has done a mix of policies.”
The Finance Minister attributed the BJP’s win in UP to the credibility of the BJP and the Prime Minister, and the fact that India’s economy is growing. “Every policy from day 1 – action against black money, jan dhan, connecting people to banks, MUDRA, gas connections – the message is loud and clear that this government wants to eradicate poverty.”
The width of the social alliance, which Jaitley called a rainbow coalition, was responsible for the victory. The policies that Jaitley mentioned were reform oriented to grow the economy and use the tax resources for the poor.
A related issue was the need to tackle black money and the parallel economy and the need to take action against tax evaders and use the money for the poor. Jaitley said that, “the poor have understood this argument and welcomed it. Can you have such a massive currency replacement in the country and not have a single incident?”
On political opponents, Jaitley was more circumspect.
He took a dig at the Aam Aadmi Party’s performance in Punjab. “I am pleased that a national party has won Punjab because you will continue to see some governance rather than some kind of irresponsible politics.”
On Mayawati’s allegations of EVM fraud, Jaitley said, “She’s being a sore loser. The BSP has an image of a party that sells tickets. The party has not bothered to expand its social base, its policies were never pro poor and the way she opposed demonetisation, she paid a price.”
On the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance, he said: “The alliance was destined to fail. Why it took place surprised me. Why was the Congress given 105 seats baffles me and the results have shown that Akhilesh was nervous.”
“Congress’ introspection will never succeed. It has to decide whether it wants to be a structured party or only a crowd around a family. The strength of the family can get it votes, but if the generation of the family is not charismatic enough it won’t get it votes. It’s a crowd around a fading dynasty,” he said.
Jaitley called Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee disconnected. “It seems so [that Mamata was disconnected]. A politician like Mamta di who’s proclaimed about probity in public life should have been standing with us in an action against black money.”