Arun Jaitley admitted on Monday that "irresponsible statements" made during elections "changed the narrative".
Irresponsible Statements Changed Bihar Narrative: Arun Jaitley
New Delhi:  As BJP does soul searching for its defeat in the Bihar polls, senior party leader Arun Jaitley admitted "irresponsible statements" made during elections "changed the narrative".Mr Jaitley also said incidents like Dadri lynching and the alleged killing of rationalist MM Kalburgi in Karnataka were "aberrations" and "not the pattern" in India, and called for distinguishing between those committing such crimes and those just being "loose talkers"."During the period when the elections were being contested, some irresponsible statements did change the narrative. That is not expected from responsible (persons). I had repeatedly intervened in order to make sure that the narrative comes back.
"As far as plan is concerned, I think those may be incidental factors. How much they impacted on Bihar, I really do not know," he said, attributing the NDA's defeat mainly to the "huge index of opposition unity".While the ruling NDA managed to get 58 seats (BJP 53) in the 243-member Bihar assembly, JD(U)-RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan secured 178 seats.On whether Bihar election was a referendum on the policies of the Centre, Mr Jaitley, said, "The word referendum is loosely used... every election is not a referendum. A state election is not a referendum. You are not contesting on one issue."He further said the vote share of the BJP has not come down and the victory of the Mahaghatbandhan was on account of different opposition forces coming together.Mr Jaitley also said that India is the "most tolerant" societies in the world and it will "reject" any contention that "a stray incident happening in any part of India will make it intolerant.""India is tolerant. Some unfortunate incidents take place, but that do not make India an intolerant society. India is a liberal society. It will continue to remain one," he said.Downplaying questions about remarks made by fringe elements, Mr Jaitley said in a large political party, it is possible to pick up one or two people.Acknowledging that they need to be careful about the comments they make, the Union Finance Minister said that the media is also in the habit of chasing them."There is a perception of this government being decisive, being honest and of being on a development path. There are, as I said, aberrations, which take place where somebody makes a loose statement or some incident takes place in Karnataka, or in Dadri, which should never have taken place...unfortunate incidents."But then those are aberrations in a large country like India. Those are not the pattern as far as India is concerned," he said.While stressing on action against those guilty for such incidents after proper investigation, Mr Jaitley said, "The central government is not concerned with incidents that take place in the states."He alleged "political manipulation" starts if something happens in UP or Karnataka with which neither the BJP nor the central government is concerned.Replying to a question about the BJP not condemning its party members making controversial statements, the Finance Minister said, "Making a statement or making a loose statement is entirely different from who is responsible for the Karnataka incident."What some people seem to have done is to obliterate the distinction between those who have committed the crime and those who are just loose talkers," he said.Asked whether it is time to rein in such elements, Mr Jaitley said,"I have already said that whenever the narrative goes in the wrong direction, we make interventions to correct it. The party President calls them and asks them questions about it."About reforms, Mr Jaitley said the government would continue with them by taking executive actions and also in the Budget, which would be presented in February next year.
On the specific question about the pending Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, he hoped that Bihar, which is a consuming state, would support the legislation."I don't see (Bihar election outcome) as a setback to the economy at all. If under Nitish Kumar, Bihar grows and grows well, we have already announced economic package for the state, certainly we are going to help. Our commitment is the states which need to develop more we have to help them more," Mr Jaitley said.He expressed confidence that both legislative and economic reforms will get a push.
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