BJP knows how to abide by the coalition dharma: Bhupender Yadav

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Bihar in-charge, Bhupender Yadav, has called the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s victory in the state an illustration of the people’s faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the coalition. In an interview with HT, he said the BJP will stick to the coalition dharma and remain firm on its commitment of giving Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), chief Nitish Kumar the chief ministerial position. Edited excerpts:

Are the results as per your expectation?

Ultimately, we have won the election and have been able to get the support and blessings of the people. This is a matter of great satisfaction for us that we have been in power for the last 15 years and people have faith in the NDA and they have confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bihar government to fulfil their aspirations and desires. It is not a question of how much support [seats] we have got, we are thankful to the people for putting their faith in us. And we will work for all the people of the state with diligence and commitment.

You went to the polls with Nitish Kumar as the chief ministerial candidate. Now looking at the results, do you think the BJP would have done well alone?

No, there is a social equation at play in Bihar. With the alliance partners, the JD (U), the HAM (S) [ Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular)], and the VIP [Vikassheel Insaan Party], we had a formidable social base. It was necessary to be part of a coalition that catered to a larger social base. And the results are as per our expectations. We are satisfied with our alliance.

There is a section in the party that feels that a BJP face should get the chief ministerial position…

The party’s central leadership has clarified who the leader in the state will be and the party will stick to that decision. The BJP is a party that sticks to its word and commitment and knows how to abide by the coalition dharma.

The BJP is now the bigger partner in the alliance in Bihar…

The BJP will move ahead to fulfil Modi’s agenda of Atmanirbhar Bharat [self-reliant India] and Armanirbhar Bihar. We will fulfil the promises made in the manifesto. We know how to abide by the coalition dharma. We will fulfil Modi’s commitment to regional aspirations and national ambition.

The exit polls predicted a win for the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-led Mahagathbandhan (MGB). What do you think worked for the NDA, especially since there was anti-incumbency, the Covid-19 crisis, and the issue of the migrant workers?

The sample of the exit polls was all wrong. They failed to read the sentiments on the ground. They failed to read the dynamic playing out. Politics cannot be defined by superficial or simplistic explanations. People also look at accountability, continuity, and the overall scenario. An election is not only about a few issues; there are multiple factors at play.

The infighting within the NDA dominated the election. The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) walked out blaming the JD (U) for misgovernance. There was concern in the JD(U) that LJP has BJP’s tacit support…

The LJP parted ways with us before the elections; they chose their path and went their way. On the other hand, the BJP and the JD (U) were committed to fighting the elections together and won the support of the people. We contested with our full might. We had joint meetings. We collaborated for the campaign and there was no friction.

The RJD has complained of rigging with its leader Manoj Jha saying the administration tampered with the results of over a dozen seats…

The RJD is behaving like petulant children, who when they lose a match, will cry hoarse and also run away with the playing gear. It is a very unfortunate development that whenever a party loses elections, they tend to blame the Election Commission and Electronic Voting Machines. This should not happen. In India, we have a very transparent and foolproof election system. The whole process of polling is minutely observed; there are observers and cameras recording the process. So, it is unfortunate to blame the process. In a democracy, the verdict of the people should be accepted with grace and respect.

Many feel that with this election, the polity of Bihar has become bipolar, with BJP and the RJD as the main parties…

It would not be right to say so. In Bihar, many smaller parties, whether they were with the MGB or the NDA or even independent candidates, have also carved out space for themselves. They have also won seats. There is a place for the smaller parties.

How do you perceive the performance of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation, or CPI (ML) Liberation, and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM)?

I think outfits such as CPI (ML) Liberation base their politics on class conflict, which leads to social unrest in the New India that we talk of. CPI (ML) Liberation’s politics has no place in the New India. They have won some seats riding on the RJD’s social base. But their politics is not inclusive, unlike the Ekatma Manavad, or theory of integral humanism, that the BJP follows. Our ideology fits in with the Indian ethos and we will continue to strengthen that.

What about the Congress?

The Congress has lost credibility. Even Tejashwi Yadav seemed unwilling to share the stage with Rahul Gandhi. People have rejected their politics of untruths and negativity.

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