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‘Pitroda raises ethnicity. Why shouldn’t we have a little fun? If Mani Shankar Aiyar’s Pak remarks play out… it’s to our advantage’: Hardeep Puri

A former diplomat now firmly settled into his role as a politician, Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs and Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri has been busy campaigning for the BJP across the country. In an interview to The Indian Express, he speaks about the war of words between the BJP and Congress, and the reason for the BJP’s confidence about “400-plus seats”.


The mood is upbeat, even though some people are deliberately attempting a distorted narrative. They are saying voting percentages have fallen, that the BJP is worried. The BJP is the only party that has booth-wise data. I’m not saying that all our supporters at some booths turned up, but… you must also be able to do a granular analysis of whose voters turned out.

In 2014, we got the first absolute majority in 37 years. In 2019, we got 303 seats. If you get 10% more, you are at 333. If you get 15% more, you are at 345+. Hopefully, your allies will also get some votes. So, you are already at 380-390. I have been saying that in two places – West Bengal and the South – I see fantastic ground-level support for us… (And) The more challenging phases are over.

It’s not about what we couldn’t achieve. I remember how, before the 2014 elections, I would ask a friend in the party how the arithmetic would work. Somebody then told me, this is not arithmetic, but chemistry. And the chemistry that worked in 2014 was simple – the previous decade (2004-2014, UPA time) was one of policy paralysis… The BJP was not the election machine it is today. But there was hope.

The 2014 election (was won) on hope and chemistry, not arithmetic. In 2019, it was different. Some of us in the government were directed by the Home Minister to undertake a granular analysis of

Read more on indianexpress.com