BJP Doesn’t Believe in Divisive Politics, All Are Equal for Us
Home minister says no one party is uniformly strong opponent of BJP in UP; at some places it is SP-Cong alliance while at others it is BSP
People of Uttar Pradesh have rejected the Samajwadi Party government’s claims of development, Union home minister Rajnath Singh told ET’s Ravish Tiwari in an interview. Excerpts:
Is the BJP losing steam in UP as some people say? How many seats do you expect the party to win in this election? This impression is only among those who are sitting in armchairs at their homes. BJP will get an absolute majority in UP.
BJP’s opponents are charging the party with attempts to polarise the electorate… This is completely baseless. I have never ever in my life practised politics on the basis of caste, sect or religion. BJP’s ideology doesn’t permit discrimination on the basis of caste, sect or religion. Everyone born in India is equal for us.
How would you explain statements of Sakshi Maharaj and Yogi Adityanath? I am not going to talk about individuals, but what I told you is a fact… (The state government has caused an eclipse).
Is the BJP worried over the recent image makeover of Akhilesh Yadav? An image of a leader emerges on the basis of his work.
He has got rid of people who were not letting him work… But he has given them their place back. And why did it take four and a half years? He should have tried it earlier. He expelled them only to take back and give tickets. Why did he remember to do so only when elections were three months away? People have lost faith in SP. I think Mulayam Singh’s initial reactions to Akhilesh were spontaneous and true. He said that he had opposed Congress always to build a strong party, but it has gone down the drain now.
Doesn’t a more assertive Akhilesh Yadav pose a bigger challenge to the BJP? If he had such a great image, why did he need an alliance? This itself suggests that Will you campaign in Noida for your son? I do not need to campaign in Noida.
Why is that so? He (Pankaj Singh) has been working for the party for the past 14-15 years. People know him already.
What if the party schedules your programme in Noida? I will request the party not to do so.
Won’t that be an injustice to Pankaj Singh, UP BJP general secretary? Where is the injustice? Our national president (Amit Shah) has already campaigned for him. Pankaj is also aware that I will not come (for his campaign). He knows that when his father cannot ask for his ticket, he will also not come for his campaign.
Does the BJP feel handicapped by not projecting a chief ministerial candidate in UP? No. These are matters of strategy. Sometimes we have projected (a CM candidate) in some states, at other times we have not done so. In Haryana and Maharashtra, we did not project, but we projected in Assam. Not projecting is also part of the strategy. And, there are many faces in UP.
Given your whirlwind tours, are you also looking towards going back to Lucknow? I am always assigned campaign tours, in every election.
Will Rajnath Singh become UP chief minister again? This is a hypothetical question.
Will you consider it if the party asks you? This is a hypothetical question.
The Jat farmers in western UP are reportedly annoyed with the BJP after casting their lot with the party in 2014… The community has huge affection for me.
They are said to be upset because the BJP didn’t push for their reservation and has been lax in sugarcane payments as well… There is reservation for them in UP.
You said in a speech that you didn’t initially plan to visit Pakistan for SAARC meeting. Why did you go then? I had instructed to send the minister of state initially. I decided to go myself after officials informed me that protests were being organised against the participation of India’s home minister. Accepting challenges is in my nature. That’s why I decided to visit myself.
Do you think Pakistan will mend its ways? It should mend its ways… Kabhi na kabhi toh sudhrega hi (It will have to mend its ways one day).