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‘Credibility’ vs ‘nautanki

New Delhi, Feb. 14: The BJP’s answer to Arvind Kejriwal will possibly be encapsulated in one line: do India’s voters trust Narendra Modi’s “credibility” or Kejriwal’s “nautanki” (histrionics)?

BJP sources said the stress on “credibility” was a reply to Kejriwal’s charge that there was “no difference” between the BJP and the Congress. Moreover, it would reinforce Modi’s message that “development and good governance” were needed to lift India from the “gloom of economic stagnation and malgovernance”.

The BJP today went on the offensive against the Aam Aadmi Party almost from the word go. Ironically, the party that gave legality and constitutionality a wide berth when it participated in the “movement” to demolish the Babri mosque based its case for not allowing the AAP’s Jan Lokpal bill on a point of law and the Constitution.

Addressing the media, Delhi BJP leader Harsh Vardhan claimed: “If Kejriwal continues as CM, he will have to fulfil constitutional requirements and then bring the bill. We will support it with full heart. But he should not lie. If he utters one lie about us, we will expose 10 lies of his.”

Another Delhi BJP leader argued: “It is unfair of Kejriwal to accuse us of stalling the Jan Lokpal bill. The BJP had supported the bill that was passed by the Centre. If he was serious about having it passed, he would have circulated it well in advance among legislators.

“He kept talking about people’s participation. But the manner in which he went about it showed there was nobody’s participation but Kejriwal’s. He and his colleague, Prashant Bhushan, had publicly praised the Lokpal bill the BJP Uttarakhand government had passed, against which the Congress dissented. But neither of them said a word against the Congress. So what’s this double game Kejriwal is playing?”

A BJP office-bearer, who recently went to a Southeast Asian country as part of an all-party team to meet politicians and strategic experts, said the AAP delegate was asked how it could have a chief minister who proclaimed he was an “anarchist” and whether the party had an ideology like the Congress, BJP and the Left. The delegate was apparently mum.

“The trouble is Kejriwal has antagonised sections like road workers, tax payers, auto-rickshaw commuters. If you wish to change the system, befriend it, not antagonise it. Our agenda of development and good governance will resonate even more strongly after people have sampled Kejriwal’s anarchism,” the office-bearer claimed.

BJP sources said their biggest “solace” was that the middle-and-upper class Punjabi and Bania votes that had deserted them for the AAP in the Assembly polls were “in all probability” returning to them in the Lok Sabha election.