BJP says Delhi polls not a referendum on Modi, AAP says this shows BJP facing certain defeat

New Delhi (IANS): BJP president Amit Shah Thursday said the Feb 7 Delhi assembly polls were not a “referendum” on the performance of the National Democratic Alliance government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Shah’s remarks were echoed by his party colleague union minister Arun Jaitley, but Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal, however, contended that these proved that the Bharatiya Janata Party had admitted to its defeat three days before polling.

The BJP chief said that election to a state assembly cannot be a referendum on performance of the central government.

“While this is indeed true that the good work of the government of India has its impact on elections, a state election cannot become a referendum (on its functioning) because of that one thing,” Shah said in an interview to CNN-IBN channel.

“For us (BJP), every election is important and we take every election seriously. Development can only happen under the BJP,” he added.

Jaitley did not directly say that the Delhi election was not a referendum on central government but noted that it was a poll to choose chief minister of Delhi.

“It is election for Delhi chief minister. People of Delhi will decide,” the finance minister told CNN-IBN.

BJP leader and union minister Venkaiah Naidu had Wednesday said that the mandate in the national capital cannot be seen as a referendum on the performance of Modi government.

With Kejriwal seizing on such comments, Naidu Thursday said his remarks were being twisted by those who were facing certain defeat.

“What I meant was that the PM’s mandate need not be validated in every assembly election. My comment is being twisted to give a different interpretation by those who are by now certain of defeat in the present Delhi election,” Naidu said.

The AAP chief however said that if the BJP was confident of victory, its leaders would not have made such remarks.

“They are preparing ground (for explanations),” Kejriwal told Times Now news channel.