By Mayank Jain:
The leader of the opposition, Arun Jaitley, was at his oratorical best in the Google Hangout on Tuesday, 25th March. Rajdeep Sardesai was trying all he could to ask tough questions but there was nothing that could shake the calm veteran.
“My party asked me to come down from the Rajya Sabha’s luxury and experience the dirt of Lok Sabha elections,” he said in an answer to the query on his motivation to contest Lok Sabha elections for the first time. The answers he gave weren’t the most direct of the lot but they were well placed and as uncontroversial as BJP could get.
The questions were flowing from all ends as people kept posting their questions online and asked others to ‘+1’ them. Most were worried about BJP’s position on taking in ministers from congress while others were still looking for a credible position on Gujarat riots. The hangout was organized by Google Elections team in collaboration with Network 18 as first in the series of interactions with political representatives.
He was asked about Narendra Modi’s one man army image and his reply was straight denial of the phenomenon: “Even Narendra Modi knows that it is impossible for one man to run an entire country. He is the head of a party, he will lead NDA”.
Arun Jaitley turned out to be quite a warrior for the party, shielding from every attack and going on the offensive every time an attack came their way. He tackled Jaswant Singh’s disappointment from the party by saying “If Mr Jaswant Singh had made these comments even a week earlier, I would have taken it more seriously“, clearly indicating that Jaswant Singh’s disappointment was on the ticket more than Modi’s rise.
“Any party that has to depend on the Aam Aadmi Party for a government is an unstable government”, he noted when confronted with a question on a potential alliance with Aam Aadmi Party. He emphasized that their governance procedure was much different and people did not accept the way Kejriwal’s government functioned in Delhi.
Jaitley also criticized the idea of FDI in retail as it would lead to consolidation of markets and kill jobs in the industry. But he failed to provide solutions for the increasing unemployment among the youth. “It is not just the loss of retail jobs, but also the manufacturing sector. There need to be many more internal reforms before such a step can take place. There would be Indian stores selling fancy Chinese goods, owned by Americans, with Indians as sales boys and girls,” he added.
The Opinion: Jaitley played like a star batsman on a pitch full of people tired of Congress but he didn’t do well in defending his stances. Facts were completely nonexistent from the conversation and indulging in rhetoric did little to further strengthen the party’s position but it did prevent any further damage.
It is important to know the ‘how’ of the grand strategies, parties including BJP have been weaving for a long time now but there is no importance on the specifics when leaders like him choose to speak. This might not be one of the most aggressive public appearances from Bhartiya Janata Party but it is true that Congress has made the right much easier for them. They just need patience and responsible actions for the next two months, and the party looks to be in no mood to spoil its chances this time.