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Since 1st March, 1999
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No repeat of Gujarat win: Mahajan

Jaipur, April 6: BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan today said Gujarat cannot be repeated in Rajasthan or any of the four states going to the polls this year.

Mahajan, nominated in-charge of the party’s election campaign for the coming Assembly polls, pointed out that the Gujarat elections were held under unique circumstances that did not exist anywhere now.

The only aspect of the Gujarat polls that the party would like to emulate elsewhere, Mahajan said at a meet-the-press programme at the Pink City Press Club, was the unprecedented unity among state BJP leaders who were unanimous about the 182 party nominees for the elections.

The BJP leader asserted that Hindutva was not an electoral issue for the party but an ideology that inspired party workers and, irrespective of whether the party won or lost the elections, it would continue to be so.

Asked whether the cause of Hindutva was defeated in Himachal Pradesh where the party was humbled, Mahajan enquired whether the BJP victory in Nagaland, where 90 per cent of the electorate is Christian, should be interpreted as a victory for the same cause. It was, therefore, a wrong perception and interpretation, he said.

Mahajan, who is also the general secretary in-charge of the party’s affairs in Rajasthan, was here to attend celebrations to mark the 23rd foundation day of the BJP.

It was pointed out that the party, during its initial years, was averse to any electoral adjustment with regional entities because of their “parochial” approach. The BJP leader said the party had come a long way since then. The party, he said, now held the firm belief that the unity of the country lay in its federalism and respect for multi-lingual character.

Mahajan stressed that only the party that enjoyed best of relations with the regional organisations would rule the country. He said the BJP would, while trying to get an absolute majority in the next general elections, form the government under the banner of the NDA to ensure its nationally representative character.

The BJP leader said that though the party would contest on its own, it would not leave the partners of the NDA even in the event of gaining a majority. “This is not a game of numbers for the political parties in Lok Sabha but it is a continuance of the regional parties having their hold in the states,” he said. Mahajan hoped that Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be Prime Minister for the fourth consecutive time.

For achieving success in the next Lok Sabha elections, which he termed Mission 2004, the BJP general secretary said it was important for the party to focus on “Operation 2003”, meaning the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.

Mahajan affirmed that state party chiefs Vasundhara Raje and Uma Bharati would be projected as chief ministerial candidates in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, respectively. Dismissing rumblings of resentment among a dominant section of the party unit in Rajasthan over Raje being offered the state’s top job, he said those trying to create trouble would be dealt with.

The BJP leader said that though the overall poll campaign in the four states would be common, state specific issues would form the main electoral plank.

According to Mahajan, the BJP has an edge over the Congress in the Assembly elections as the latter is ruling two of the election-bound states for the past 10 years and has been in power in the other two for five. The omissions and commissions of the Congress regimes would come handy for the BJP to launch its offensive, he pointed out.

Mahajan ruled out the possibility for an electoral alliance with any of its NDA constituents in the four states, given their nominal presence in those regions. Their presence in the fray would help the BJP, he reasoned, as they would cut into the Congress base.

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