NEW DELHI: “It’s an all time high for us” and the “highest point” for BJP, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday as the party stormed to power in Assam and saw a major jump in its vote share in Kerala and West Bengal.
“Today this is the highest point in the history of BJP. We have a majority in the Lok Sabha on our own. Along with our partners, we have 15 state governments, which covers over 45 per cent of India’s population,” he said.
Jaitley said the geographical expansion of BJP in Kerala, after Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in the South, and the 11 per cent vote share in West Bengal were “important milestones”.
“To be able to form a government in Assam with an overwhelming majority and to have governments in Arunachal and Meghalaya is a very important milestone,” he said.
The Finance Minister also hit out at the Congress, saying the national party which hogged centrestage in the national polity until two years ago “today has state governments which cover about 7 to 8 per cent of India’s population.”
“So the stark difference in the size of the two parties is – it’s an all-time high for us and an all-time low for them,” he said.
With today’s poll results, he expressed the hope for early passage of GST Bill about which he was “reasonably optimistic”.
“Today’s verdict is advantage GST. I think a setback to the obstructionists is certainly advantage GST,” he said when asked if this could see an early passage of the key tax reform legislation.
Jaitley criticised Congress leaders for trying to “protect” and coming to the defence of Rahul Gandhi rather than giving local and rational reasons for the party’s debacle in these assembly polls.
Coming down heavily on the family-led politics of Congress, he attacked it for not having a leadership and said this was not a situation created by the BJP.
“We don’t have a choice in creating their leader. That is a trap that the Congress party has really set for itself. When a party transforms itself from a structured political party to a crowd around the family, then the inevitable consequences of that is that the family, because its strength and appeal is lacking, can become a liability for the party.
“Without the family, the crowd itself would disintegrate and therefore it is for Congress party to decide whether they want to transform themselves into a structured political party or merely into a dynastic association,” he said.
He added the Congress, after losing the 2014 elections, had to decide whether to behave like a national party of governance and mature itself or take the path of obstruction or fringe positions.
Jaitley also hit out at the Left, saying it is a model which has been rejected globally and has presence in India in certain pockets including states like Tripura, Kerala and West Bengal and “faculties of Jadhavpur and Jawaharlal Nehru Universities”.
“If anchor itself has 20 to 30 seats in Parliament, as has happened in the past, then such a coordination collapses sooner than later. A coalition without a reasonably large anchor is never possible in such a large democracy,” he said.