BJP leader Arun Jaitley is contesting his first election. A day ahead of shifting to a new house, he expresses confidence in this interview with Maneesh Chhibber in his temporary office-cum-residence:
On the difference between managing elections and contesting one:
Itís always a greater challenge. In managing elections, you look at the big picture; here you are constituency-specific. And, this is certainly physically more exerting. There is an element of more planning, meetings and rallies when you are managing elections. But when you are contesting, you canít ignore even the micro, like how a panchayat votes, what are the local issues in each area. You have to be careful about every situation.
On the war of words with Capt Amarinder Singh:
I had thought that Capt Sahib with his legacy and background would have something substantial to offer to this campaign. But I find that he finds it difficult to address national issues or constituency-specific ideas. He can only indulge in mindless aggression, rooted in impolite language. That has never been my style. In effect he is a tu-tu, main-main candidate which is in contrast to my style. I am therefore keeping away from that lumpen debate. I am concentrating on national issues, what the NDA government will do for the country and what my vision for my constituency is.
On whether anti-incumbency against the SAD-BJP government will harm his chances:
There are some minor issues. But when I talk to people, I see huge support to make Narendra Modi prime minister. Now that it seems certain that a non-Congress government will come to power, the people of Amritsar would want a powerful voice in Delhi and I probably qualify for that.
On chief minister Parkash Singh Badalís announcement that Jaitley would be deputy prime minister:
I know that it is Mr Badalís affection for me that makes him wish such a post for me.
Is Navjot Sidhuís absence hurting you?
No. The party decided on my name only after Navjot clearly indicated that he didnít wish to contest. He is a dear friend and I know he feels the same way about me and wants me to win.