The Campaign Diary – 06-04-2014

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{Arun Jaitley**}

The first round of polling is a few hours away.  Polling is spread out over five weeks. A week is also a long time in politics.  My appeal to the BJP supporters all over the country is that no election is over till the last vote is polled.  The BJP is the clear front-runner with its allies.  In the dying hours of the campaign before the polling in each state, the groundswell for Narendra Modi, the BJP/NDA, and the desire for change is becoming clearer. This takes the shape of a strong undercurrent which is commonly referred to as a “Wave”.  Complacency and over confidence are always counterproductive.  The people we meet on the road to success are the same that will meet when the going is not so good. Modesty in victory and graciousness in adversity are the hallmarks of the political maturity. A last minute push by the party supporters is capable of taking the NDA into 300 seat range.  I am expecting good news of yet another alliance in a prominent South Indian state. That will add to the overall momentum. The party supporters must measure their wards. We must remain focused on campaign issue and avoid controversies.  The going is good.  We should not take our eyes off the ball.

Amritsar Campaign

Yesterday, along with the Punjab Chief Minister, Sardar Parkash Singh Badal, I addressed a very large rally organized by the Akali Dal leader Vir Singh Lopoke in Raja Sansi. Rallies in rural Punjab have an atmosphere of their own. Mammoth crowds assemble in the morning.  They are disciplined and committed. The Akali Dal has great ability to transfer its vote to its allies. The charm of Badal Sahib continues to dominate rural areas of Punjab.  At his age and seniority, he works tirelessly. The power in his voice can outbeat most people half his age.  He follows strict discipline and covers his daily schedule effectively.  He is restrained in the use of language. His political style is a lesson for many. His political career has been spread over six decades.  He has been the Chief Minister of Punjab five times.  His political journey is a lesson for Captain Sahib. It is easy to become a Chief Minister once on the strength of anti-incumbency.  But to become Chief Minister five times needs something more. Kuch baat hai ki hasti mit-ti nahi hamari

Trade and industry interaction

In the interaction with the large group representing various trade and industry in Amritsar, I realized that they are all very enthusiastic about this election, but deeply concerned over the depleting manufacturing sector. I told them that my personal philosophy is low interest rate, low rate of taxation, improving infrastructure, competitive cost of utilities and expansion of the economic activities. I discussed with the trade and industry representatives the need to expand economic activities through low cost manufacturing which makes India a competitive economy. Amritsar needs to be strengthened on infrastructure, tourism, border trade, and a few manufacturing clusters.

The Company Bagh 

There still subsists a sports culture in Punjab.  I interacted with the local Cricket Association and its members yesterday. Today I spent time in the Company Bagh where I met the Badminton Association and its players, the Lawn Tennis Association and its players, besides a large number of morning walkers.  Company Bagh has hugely improved with the efforts of Anil Joshi, a local Minister from Amritsar.  Besides being the lung-space of the city, many regard it as part of its lifeline.

The Central Park of New York, the Hyde Park of London, the Lodi Garden of Delhi, are unwinding spaces of the cities. The Company Bagh has the same potential.

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images301111**Arun Jaitley
Leader of Opposition (Rajya Sabha )
*Disclaimer: The writer is a freelance journalist and the views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of INVC. 

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