"I think in some ways PM Modi has helped the cause of the opposition with demonetisation and then the very shoddy implementation of the GST. It certainly is not all going in the BJP's favour. I think we (opposition parties) need to tweak our strategy a bit. But I think we will be able to take the fight to the BJP and the NDA (in 2019 polls)," Mr Abdullah said.
He was speaking at an event titled 'The path forward in Kashmir' at the University of Berkeley in California in the US last week. His speech was followed by a question-and-answer session where he spoke on varied topics, including on the current political situation in the country and the Lok Sabha elections next year.
Mr Abdullah, the working president of opposition National Conference (NC), was asked about his tweet after the BJPs victory in UP assembly polls last year, where he had said "at this rate we might as well forget 2019 & start planning/hoping for 2024" and whether he would like to reevaluate his assessment.
"That tweet has been misquoted so many times that I actually wonder if I should have put it out. What I actually meant was if things stayed this way, then we might as well forget 2019 and start focusing on 2024."
"But, clearly things haven't stayed that way. Recent bye-polls in UP where BJP lost two seats, the closest of the election in Gujarat, the way in which the Congress seems to be re-emerging in Rajasthan and if they can get their own house in order in Madhya Pradesh, I guess they will give BJP a good fight there as well. So it's not all doom and gloom," he said.
"One is when you play the national security card because they are deemed to be far more hawkish for India's national security issues than other parties are and the other is the Hindutva card - the secular versus the communal," he said.
The NC leader said while the parties like the Congress and the others can't win such an argument, "there is a lot more that is wrong with India that simply a communal campaign will not wash your win."
"The deep distress in the agricultural community, the slowdown in manufacturing, the inability to create jobs, bringing back all the black money that is stashed away in foreign banks and stuff like that. So, I think if you fight the elections using our mind and our hearts rather than just fighting and emotional campaign, I think there is a lot that we can bring to the fore to put the BJP on the defensive," he said.
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