“Modi should contest from UP”
Narendra Modi’s fate in Elections 2014 hinges upon a strong showing in Battleground Uttar Pradesh. Not surprisingly, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate has tasked his right-hand man and master electoral strategist Amit Anilchandra Shah, 51, with delivering
Q. Factionalism is rife in the Uttar
Pradesh unit of BJP. How are you dealing with it? A. In every party run on democratic principles, differences of opinion ought to be there. It is the sign of a healthy party. This is a Lok Sabha poll and not a Vidhan Sabha poll, so differences of opinion won’t blow up beyond a point. Q. How is BJP choosing candidates? A. We are stressing on quality and winnability with a focus on good candidates from the backward castes. In general, there are three main criterions for selection: 1. Success in electoral politics. 2. Local connect with constituents. 3. A good record of fighting against the misrule of the Samajwadi Party ( SP) government. Q. Is there a Modi wave in the state? A. Why UP alone? A Modi wave is sweeping the entire country. But its impact is more in UP because of years and years of misgovernance under SP and BSP rule. Q. Does your internal survey show that Modi’s popularity is more than
that of BJP? A. It is true. Modiji’s performance in Gujarat as an administrator and his appeal based on the common man’s belief that his arrival will signal a positive change in the country’s destiny is playing a big role. Q. There is a buzz that Modi is going to contest from Uttar Pradesh. A. The party has still not taken a decision. But I feel he should contest from UP. If the future PM contests from UP, 18 per cent of India’s population will benefit and this will have a nationwide impact. If UP comes out from the category of BIMARU states, the country’s growth rate will jump to double-digits. Q. Which are your strong areas in Uttar Pradesh? A. We are strong all over the state because of the anti-incumbency against the UPA Government and the fact that it has constantly received support from SP and BSP. Plus, there is great anger against the SP government for its failures on the law and order front and its unabashed Muslim appeasement. Q. What do you mean when you say Muslim appeasement? A. Twenty-one terror cases were withdrawn in which the accused were Muslims. The SP government also tried to withdraw cases against Muslim leaders involved in the Muzaffarnagar riots. Even developmental program- mes are framed and implemented with an eye on Muslim votes. Compare this with Gujarat, where many Muslim areas are witnessing true development for the first time since Independence.
Q. BJP too publicly honoured three of its leaders who were accused of a role in the Muzaffarnagar riots. A. Wrong. BJP hasn’t honoured anyone genuinely involved in the riots. We had to honour the three leaders because the SP government had wrongly detained them under the National Security Act. They were victims of SP’s Muslim appeasement. Q. Are you trying to bring back old RSS cadres to revive BJP in the state? A. RSS cadres are bound to get prominence because of their devotion to public duty, discipline and training. Giving prominence to such a nationalist corps is good for the nation. Q. Do you think the Third Front has a chance of coming to power? A. India’s politics is bipolar. The Third Front is a make-believe creation of distressed political leaders with national ambitions. It can never succeed.