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Will 2014 be substantially different for India’s polity, asks Arun Jaitley

He said it is not merely the Indian middle class which is the strong opinion maker but there is additionally a substantial ‘aspirational’ class in India whose level of expectations is entirely different.

Welcoming the decision to portray Dr Harsh Vardhan as party’s unquestioned leader in Delhi, he said, ‘It is a step in the right direction. The BJP has decided to nationally approach 10 crore households for collecting small donations for the party’s election expenses. However, the Party in Delhi will have to do a lot more in order to strengthen the perception of its own credibility.’

‘They are going to judge Indian politics, persons in public life and the quality of governance harshly. They will vote in governments and vote out governments if they found them not meeting popular aspirations,’ Jaitley said.

While referring the election results of four state assemblies held recently, he said, ‘Our leaders have done well in these states and they were voted by the aspirational class. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, successfully led the BJP to electoral victory for the third time because of his performance, more particularly because of his personal credibility.’

‘Dr Raman Singh’s personal credibility coupled with the success of the public distribution system that he created saw the BJP through. Both these chief ministers served the people well. In Rajasthan the Congress Party’s government was marred by the allegations of misconduct of ministers and MLAs. The clear message of the electorate in these states was whereas other factors including social and political combinations may be important, it was credibility that matters,’ the leader of Opposition said.

He alleged that in the national capital the Congress government had lost its credibility because it has emerged as the epicenter of anti-corruption movement in the past three years and the Congress had miserably failed on this count.

While commenting on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), ‘A section of the electorate was impressed with the idea of experimenting a new alternative. It was a silent protest against the quality of conventional politics that gave a significant number of votes to the AAP. Even though the BJP has emerged as the largest party in terms of votes and seats, the election results of Delhi are a cause of introspection for the BJP.’

Ex-UN envoy Hardeep Singh Puri joins BJP

New Delhi: In an another  development, diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri, a 1974-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, has joined the BJP on Thursday. Puri has recently retired as India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In his 39 years of service, Puri held several senior positions in the ministry of external affairs and defence and held Ambassadorial assignments in London and Brasilia.

BJP president Rajnath Singh has welcomed his decision and said, ‘His experience in foreign, security and trade policies will help the party.’

In less than three weeks this is (Puri’s joining BJP) fifth such high profile inclusion in party. Earlier, on 13 December, former home secretary RK Singh (IAS Bihar cadre) along with Sunil Shastri, son of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, former petroleum secretary RS Pandey (IAS Bihar cadre) and retired Railways official Dharam Singh joined the party.
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