BJP Doesn’t Be­lieve in Di­vi­sive Pol­i­tics, All Are Equal for Us

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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).

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