New Delhi: BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Monday dared Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to form a government with Congress support and fulfil "unrealistic promises" instead of avoiding power where it will be like a "fish out of water".
Slamming Arvind Kejriwal`s one-year-old party for making "unrealistic promises" during Assembly elections in Delhi, the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha said it should fulfil its "exaggerated and unimplementable" manifesto.
On his latest Facebook posting, Jaitley sought to know if the AAP is merely a "freak phenomenon" or will be a lasting experiment. He said no clear answers could be given at the moment.
"This party is unconventional. It has attempted to exploit the general mood of cynicism. It has made unrealistic promises and does not want to sit in a position of responsibility where it has to walk its talk," Jaitley said.
AAP`s impressive performance in the Delhi elections came as a surprise to BJP and the Congress. It emerged as the second largest party with 28 seats in the 70-member Assembly. BJP got 31 and its ally SAD won one seat. Congress with eight seats was a distant third.
"The very suggestion of being in the government to implement its policy and promises appears to be scary for this party. In a democracy, the voters vote in order to elect the government," Jaitley said.
Throwing a challenge to AAP and Congress, he said in the absence of clear majorities, forming a government is the art of the possible and Congress can extend its outside support to the AAP.
"In power, such a party (AAP) would be like a fish out of water. It is possible to make exaggerated promises, and capture the imagination of a few by making unimplementable promises. The strategy of the party is to avoid power rather than be in a position to implement the unimplementable," Jaitley said.
Jaitley said BJP had won 6-8 seats less than its expected
tally but maintained some of the party candidates lost by a narrow margin. He conceded that the AAP was BJP`s main rival in the polls.
"Even though we have managed to retain a large part of our traditional votes, there was some shift even in middle-class localities to the AAP. The Congress was no longer a serious option in Delhi. Residents of the city were considering which of the two alternatives to vote for ? the BJP or the AAP," he said.
Noting that the AAP had got lesser votes and seats than BJP, Jaitley said this is not a ground for satisfaction.
"The BJP`s march to comfortable majority has not been interrupted by the Congress. It has been interrupted by the AAP. The lesson of the 32 constituencies that the BJP has won clearly reveals that most candidates who were well grounded in the constituencies and appeared to be electorally acceptable have won," he said.
The BJP leader also emphasised that the lesson for his party in Delhi is that the "credibility-quotient" counts in an election. He gave the credit to Harsh Vardhan and said the Chief Ministerial candidate`s image had helped the party.
"The image of the leadership, as also of the candidate, must induce confidence amongst the voters. The announcement of Harsh Vardhan`s name as the BJP`s Chief Ministerial candidate helped the BJP," Jaitley said.
"Just getting a party nomination even in a stronghold is not enough. The days of conventional politics are now over," he added.