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BJP would need 'Vajpayee's touch' to win 2019 elections: Naresh Gujral

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The present government needs a "touch" to come up with a winning pre-election coalition in the 2019 elections, (SAD) has said.

Gujral, who is a member from Punjab, was speaking yesterday at the launch of book "Newsman: Tracking in the Modi Era" written by veteran

"The success of the NDA will depend on the kind of pre-election coalition that they are able to stich up. If they are able to carry their existing partners and some more. It is important that the treat their allies with kid gloves. This is where a touch is required.

"I am sure the will stay with them, provided they do not demand more seats from them. I am sure Nitish Kumar would want his number of seats, and I am sure we will refuse if they ask us (SAD) even one more seat," he has said.

Though the topic of discussion was 'Who will win 2019 elections?' Gujral, while recounting the NDA's 2014 comprehensive win in the general elections, said it was the last-moment coalition with N Chandrababu Naidu that made the touch the 282 mark.

"Last time, at the last moment, we were able to bring in N Chandrababu Naidu and he was a force multiplier. Personally, I think the BJP would not have been able to touch the 282 mark had Naidu not joined the coalition," the said.

Naidu's had on March 16 ended its four-year-long alliance with the BJP and walked out of the NDA over the Centre's refusal to grant special category status to

The debate, which had panellists from different parties including Rajasthan Sachin Pilot, and BJP Gaurav Bhatia, among others, saw many expressing their opinions on the question of versus who in the 2019

While Owaisi argued that "regional parties" will counter the Modi juggernaut in 2019 and not Congress's Rahul Gandhi, according to Pilot, the upcoming elections would be about issues and not individuals.

"PM Modi will try its utmost best to have a contest between Modi and Rahul , and if that happens then Modi is on a very stronger wicket. Once the regional parties come forward... and they are coming forward, Modi will definitely lose," Owaisi said.

However, arguing that this time issues will surmount the personality centric elections -- the one that the country saw in 2014 -- said today more important question is not who is going to win the election but who is losing this election, and that is the "NDA and the BJP".

"You can try make it presidential personality centric, but ultimately the issues will surmount and it will not be about individuals. Today, it is safe to say that the people of are going to judge the issues, the delivery, the rehtoric, the jhumlas vs what has actually happen on the ground and in my mind Modi's effort as will be squarely accounted," said.

When the same question was put to Gujral, whose party is part of the NDA, he replied the question is not that relevant because 2004 was about "vs who and yet Mr Vajpayee lost".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, August 09 2018. 14:15 IST