New Delhi: Following electoral reverses in Uttar Pradesh, where it lost eight of 11 seats in the assembly bypolls, the Bharatiya Janata party Wednesday distanced itself from the "love jihad" campaign.
"As far as 'love jihad' is concerned, it may have been raised by a few local leaders but the BJP as a party has never endorsed it," said BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra when IANS asked him whether the bypolls result indicated that people were disillusioned at the party deviating from its development plank for a campaign led by its MP Yogi Adityanath.
He said that "love jihad" was not a part of the Uttar Pradesh BJP's resolution adopted in Vrindavan last month.
"The accusation by our opponents that we try to polarise votes as an election strategy was laid to rest in the Lok Sabha elections, when people emphatically rejected the claim that BJP is not a secular party and hence should not be voted to power," Patra added.
The Congress, however, said the results indicated a "dramatic reversal" of people's view on the BJP's Hindutva ideology.
"It is a defeat of Yogi Adityanath's brand of communal politics. 'Love jihad' is an insidious, orchestrated strategy to divide communities with the backing of the RSS. But the defeat of eight sitting BJP MLAs in Uttar Pradesh signals a dramatic reversal of people's view on the Hindutva agenda persued by it," Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha told IANS.
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP lost eight of the 11 seats which it had won with its ally Apna Dal in the 2012 assembly polls. Tuesday's result was in stark contrast to the BJP's victory in 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in the general elections in May.
The Congress said the BJP's repeated defeats in bypolls was a clear indication that "Modi wave" is over in only 100 days of the party's government.
"It marks the end of the manufactured Modi wave. The susceptible downslide of the BJP is evident not just in yesterday's (Sep 16) results but from the earlier results in Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh," Jha asserted.
This is the third time the BJP has suffered reverses in bypolls since Narendra Modi came to power riding on the back of a massive mandate in the April-May Lok Sabha polls.
In the first round of the bypolls held in Uttarakhand after the general elections, the Congress had won all the three assembly seats, while in the second round of bypolls, the BJP had lost six of the 10 assembly seats in Bihar.
Gujarat, where Modi was the chief minister for about 13 years, too offered a jolt for the saffron party Tuesday, with Congress wresting three seats from the BJP.
Congress leader from the state Shaktisinh Gohil attributed it to Modi's neglect of the farmers under a facade of "vibrant" Gujarat.
"Farmers are a neglected community in Gujarat. Their issues have always been neglected under a facade of vibrant Gujarat," Gohil told IANS, adding that Modi's 100 days in government showed he was not able to realise the dreams he sold to people.
Patra refuted the claim.
"Bypolls are fought on local issues and may not be seen as people's reflection on the national discourse in politics," he contended.