BJP accepts AAP factor, grudgingly

BJPBJP leaders Rajnath Singh, L K Advani, and Narendra Modi at the party office New Delhi. (IE photo: Renuka Puri)

While BJP chief Rajnath Singh was emphatic in asserting that the party had benefited hugely from the popularity of their PM candidate Narendra Modi in the assembly elections to four states where he had campaigned, they were forced to accept newly formed Aam Admi Party's (AAP) stupendous performance that stopped them from winning majority in Delhi.

"There was anti-incumbency against Congress rule in the state. But AAP garnered maximum benefit of this anti-incumbency," Singh told reporters. But he avoided questions on whether Modi's popularity failed to beat AAP's challenge in Delhi.

"In Delhi we have emerged as the largest party.... AAP is a new party and it has managed to communicate its ideas effectively. As a new party it has done reasonably well. .. The anti-Congress wave was split between two parties (AAP and BJP)," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.

Former Bihar deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Modi was more effusive in his praise for AAP. "Hats off to Arvind Kejriwal. Like NaMo (Narendra Modi) he has changed the political course of this country. Many things to learn from his style of politics," he tweeted.

Rajnath asserted that his party's performance — three wins in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and single largest party in Delhi — was also a result of their prime ministerial candidate's popularity.

"I would like to congratulate our projected chief ministerial candidates Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh, Vasundhara Raje and Harsh Vardhan as well as BJP workers.... The electorate of all these four states have rejected Congress. This is a clear message for 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The party has hugely benefited from the popularity of Narendra Modi," he told reporters after the party's parliamentary board meeting.

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