Buoyed by the sweep in Bihar, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushil Kumar Modi says the tempo will be maintained in the 2020 assembly elections. He spoke to Arun Kumar.
How do you view the landslide?
We expected 35-36 seats and we got three more [NDA won 39 of 40 seats in Bihar]. The track record of the NDA says it all. In 2009, we got 32 seats and 37% vote share. In 2014, we secured 36-37% vote share even without Janata Dal (United) and got 31 seats. Now, with [chief minister] Nitish Kumar on our side, the writing was on the wall. NDA got around 54% votes. The BJP-JD(U) -LJP combine is formidable. The verdict is a slap on the face of those who banked on caste politics [and] treated voters as [their] fiefdoms.
Did you expect winning by such huge margins?
The huge margins of NDA candidates indicate that they got votes of GA [the opposition grand alliance]. We saw it coming due to the huge response of the people, but media friends found it hard to digest, while there were others in the political class who did not want to see it. Winning 39 of the 40 seats speaks a lot. All sections voted for NDA. The people had only heard of Narendra Modi as Gujarat CM in 2014, while in 2019 they voted for him after seeing his work.
Also read: Amid huge NDA win, NOTA makes its presence felt in Bihar
What about the state polls?
It will be a walkover [for NDA], as the Opposition neither has a credible [CM] face, nor any social combination to bank on, nor any past performance to [talk about]. This mandate points to the crumbling walls of casteism and emergence of a new India.
Did you benefit from nationalism or the CM’s ground work?
It is a combination of both — PM’s personality and the work of both the governments at the Centre and in Bihar. Since it was a national election, national security was a big issue. Balakot strike did create a positive image about Modi. Nitish Kumar’s work and image was the icing on the cake.
Did Lalu Prasad’s absence help the NDA?
In fact, being in jail, Laluji [Rashtriya Janata Dal chief] has saved himself from the blushes. Now, his supporters have something to say that things could have been different had he been campaigning. But the reality would have been the same.
Also read: Debutants bite the dust in Bihar this electoral season
May 25, 2019 08:03 IST
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