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Governance will become the only election issue, says Arun Jaitley

By Our Staff Correspondent

Photo: A.M. Faruqui

The Union Law Minister, Arun Jaitley, addressing a press conference in Bhopal on Saturday.

BHOPAL NOV. 29. The Union Law Minister, Arun Jaitley, today said the campaign for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections had made it clear that in future elections in the State the two main political parties — the BJP and the Congress — would have to seek the people's mandate only on the basis of their performance and "good governance."

Mr. Jaitley, in charge of the BJP's marathon campaign in Madhya Pradesh, was addressing a press conference here this evening. While describing the Congress and the BJP as the two main players in these elections, he said that on the other side there were some parties that had the wrong perception that they would win these elections only through social polarisation.

Mr. Jaitley said the elections were being contested on economic issues, particularly those relating to governance. This was a big message for political parties. After coming to power, no political party could hope to get the people's mandate for another term without ensuring development and improving their quality of life.

It was "historic" that good governance had become an election issue for the first time in Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Jaitley said, asserting that the BJP played a pivotal role in building this issue into an election agenda. "The friends in the Congress had initially tried to divert the people's attention from this core issue but looking at the intense mood of the public they were compelled to return to this agenda." As far as the BJP was concerned, Mr. Jaitley said: "Our principal focus has been that the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister's model of development is inherently defective."

Mr. Jaitley said that the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Digvijay Singh, had earlier gone on record saying that elections were not won through development and during electioneering, the Congressmen were on the defensive, asserting that elections were not contested on issues such as roads and electricity.

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