Interview: LDF and UDF are natural bedfellows: Arun Jaitley
MG Radhakrishnan: What is the importance of Kerala Elections, generally in a national perspective and in particular in BJP's view?
Arun Jaitley: It is important in national perspective, first because Kerala is an important state.
Secondly, out of these five assemblies which are going to polls, two are held by the Congress-Assam and Kerala. And there's a distinct possibility that the Congress may end up losing both, which means that the footprints of the Congress party will be probably Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and three North Eastern states. I can tell you that in Himachal and Karnataka, they are in a fairly bad shape. Not likely to return when the next election comes in.
I think this would be historically the lowest ever point with 44 seats in the Lok Sabha, wiped out of the length and breadth of the country for the Congress. Therefore the two fronts in the national level -the UPA and the NDA - are built around two national parties. For us, the BJP, the nucleus of the UPA becomes extremely weak.
Again, for the first time, the Kerala elections that are conventionally bipolar has become tripolar. I can see an upsurge of the BJP and the NDA taking place.
We are not only likely to make a presence in the assembly, we are likely get a sizeable amount of votes. And once we cross a particular threshold, a hump, then the growth of the BJP in future is going to be very significant.
MGR: Do you have any prediction of seats for the BJP in Kerala?
AJ: Well, I don't. I am not a psephologist...I don't predict seats. But I can tell you there are a sizeable number of seats in Kerala were the election is tripolar. I am certain that we are going to make a sizeable presence, both in terms of seats and votes.
MGR: Both the fronts- the UDF and the LDF- are accusing each other for having a secret deal with the BJP...
AJ: Not even in our dreams, will we have a relation with the Congress, the CPM and the Muslim League. On the contrary, we have the experience of the Left and the Congress coming together in West Bengal. They have an open alliance now...
If by any chance, Kerala has a hung assembly, we will not be supporting either of them, but they will be supporting each other. And the possibility of the LDF and the UDF coming together is high. They are natural bedfellows. We are their natural opponents.
MGR: Chances of Kerala getting representated in union ministry...
AJ: Well, that it the prerogative of the Prime Minister.
MGR: Do you think that Kerala should have a representation?
AJ: Obviously it should have a representative. Earlier, in the Vajpayee Ministry, we did not have an elected MP from Kerala.. we got O Rajagopal elected from other state and then PC Thomas was inducted...
I'm sure that the Prime Minister is conscious of this fact that the state should have a representation in the ministry.
MGR: AgustaWestland .. AK Antony has challenged the government that if you have the evidence why don't you initiate action, instead of making allegations?
AJ: Well, the investigation is on. He has been the Defence Minister and an honourable man. He knows that the evidences are in other countries. So from 11 different countries, letters rogatory has been sent by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Some countries are cooperating with early response, some are not. So when you get the information, you will certainly get evidences.
MGR: Do you subscribe to Subrahmanyan Swami's charges against Sonia Gandhi?
AJ: All that I'm saying is that there is a bribe giver who has been arrested. Obviously there is a bribe taker. You can not have a transaction in which the bribe giver goes to jail and bribe taker is not known. So we must find out who the bribe taker is.
MGR: So can you assure that this case will not go the way Bofors went?
AJ: Then the government changed and the Congress covered it up. I'm sure it is not going to happen..