Opposition Must Ask For Votes Against Demo. We Are Ready For It.
What difference do you see for the BJP in this election in UP and the Lok Sabha election in the state in 2014? There is a huge difference. First, SP government is facing bigger antiincumbency (now) than UPA government (did in 2014). Second, the BJP was organisationally not as strong in 2014 (in UP). Today, the BJP organisation has reached down to the level of a polling booth. Now, the BJP has reached every section of society. Every caste and community has become part of the BJP and the party has reached across all caste and sections of society.
CM Akhilesh Yadav is saying at his rallies the Centre has failed to bring ‘achhe din’… It’s good that Akhilesh accepts that achhe din have not come about. It was his responsibility to bring achhe din in UP. If a chief minister says that achhe din have not materialised at the end of his five years, it only reflects on his regime. Let it (government) come to us and we will show how achhe din materialise in five years.
In June last year you declared SP as the BJP’s main challenger, but recently you acknowledged that your fight was with BSP… BSP had a base in the first two phases and that’s why the contest has been with the BSP in these phases. We’ll get to know about the third phase during polls now.
Does that mean it is not an even contest across regions in UP? BJP is uniformly in contest in all regions while SP and BSP keep changing in contests in different regions.
Which region is the most challenging for BJP? I fight assuming every seat has a tough contest.
Why has the BJP resorted to populism in UP by promising loan waiver when it never did so in Gujarat, for example? Please do not simplify our UP manifesto this way. Every state has a unique situation. Given the situation of farmers, poor, Dalits and backward sections in UP, unless we provide a robust platform to these sections their lives will not improve merely with schemes. Such is the situation that we need to elevate it to a solid platform. Howsoever we promise to procure paddy, we will have to keep in mind their capacity to produce first because their loans have piled up so much. That’s why we have tried to provide a basic platform to them. Calling our manifesto populist will not be appropriate. Our manifesto is an honest effort to provide a platform to farmers, poor, Dalits and backwards.
In the first phase, a mutt head from east UP campaigned in western UP. Many people said BJP was resorting to polarisation… Why do you call Yogi Adityanath merely a mutt head? Yogi Adityanath is a five-term MP; his teacher Avaidyanath has been MP and MLA for nine terms together. Yogi Adityanath is a leader of solid standing in UP. How can you call an MP campaigning for his party polarisation? Why shouldn’t it be done? Animal husbandry is suffering and farmers are getting poorer. Tell me how a farmer will survive floods and drought without his animal husbandry when all milch animals are slaughtered. Those who are calling it a communal agenda need to change their world view.
Will other BJP-ruled states follow suit? UP has the largest number of slaughterhouses while it has the highest potential for white revolution. This is the land of Ganga, Yamuna, Gomti and Gandak which has plenty of ground water, has plain lands for fodder and feed for it (white revolution). But a water stressed Gujarat is ahead of UP in white revolution. What does this say? We want to put an end to slaughtering of milch animals.
Will this be extended to other BJP states? Other state units will take a call on the basis of intensity of this (slaughtering of milch animals).
Some analysts are suggesting that the UP poll could be a referendum on demonetisation… Zaroor hona chahiye (That should certainly be the case). We want opposition to make it an issue for referendum. We have no objection to it. They should go and ask for votes against demonetisation.
Will that benefit the BJP given the hardships faced by the common man? The electorate of UP is firmly with us on the issue of demonetisation.
Mayawati recently said she will not try to form a government in alliance with BJP. This gave rise to speculation of a hung verdict… I do not know Mayawati’s source of information. BJP is going to form a government in UP with two-thirds majority. The electorate of UP has already made up its mind. The BJP will win more than 90 seats in the first two phases of elections. BJP will also emerge as the largest party in the third phase too.
Isn’t there a possibility of a hung verdict? Door door tak iska koi chinha nahin hai (That is not even a remote possibility).
Since you are so confident of absolute majority, who will be your chief ministerial pick? As far as CM face goes, the party has decided to take a call on this after the election.
Many people say BJP did not declare a CM candidate because it did not have a face to rival Akhilesh Yadav or Mayawati… Hamaare saare chehre Mayawati aur Akhilesh ki tulna mein behtar hain (All of our faces are better than Akhilesh or Mayawati). These people have ruled UP for 15 years. They have been exposed before the public.
What will be the main criteria for the selection of BJP’s CM candidate? Good governance will be our criteria.
Will popularity as a leader also be a criterion? Naturally. We will make a CM who is also popular among the public.
Is there a chance that some MP can also become BJP’s chief minister in UP? Howsoever hard you try, you will not get a hint from me (about CM face).
Will it be somebody from an upper caste or Other Backward Classes? Nothing has been finalised on the CM face.
Is the BJP worried on account of the family feud in SP appearing to have resolved in favour of Akhilesh Yadav? We are not who will be afraid of it. There has been no change within the SP. Shivpal Yadav is still part of SP. Gayatri Prajapathi is still part of SP. Atiq Ahmed is still part of SP. Azam Khan is still part of SP. Pawan Pandey is still part of SP. They have repeated most of their tickets.
Akhilesh Yadav has kept Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed out. Won’t that bolster his image? You have to see public perception in my rallies.
Akhilesh has charged BJP with copying schemes from his manifesto such as dial-anambulance (108) and dial-the-police (100)… Akhilesh doesn’t seem to have read what we have promised. We have promised to deepen 108 service to ensure ambulances reach within 15 minutes of dialling for the service. We have promised to improvise dial-100 service on policing too.
Akhilesh has also questioned as to what sort of achhe din are you promising in the state… We have promised to waive farm loans and offer 0% rate of interest on farm loans. We promised assured procurement of paddy. We have promised to raise 40 dairies, 25 medical colleges, 80 engineering colleges; there will be anti-Romeo squads to provide security for girl students; we will ban mechanised slaughterhouses to safeguard farmers’ animal husbandry. We have promised to end interview in class 3 and 4 employment to end corruption and casteism in those recruitments. We have promised to create 70 lakh job opportunities. The achhe din for UP will come when UP gets out of that proverbial BIMARU state tag. Our governments in Bihar, MP and Rajasthan have made stellar efforts to get them out of BIMARU tag. We have managed to bring MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan out of it, now only “U” (from BIMARU) remains. Now is the chance for ‘U’. The BJP government will take UP out of that tag too.
Why did the BJP witness such discord within the party even after ticket distribution? Only yesterday I spoke to him. He gave his blessings to Neelkanth Tiwari (the new candidate) before the filing of nominations.
What is your feedback on other states? We are going to form the government with a good majority. We will get five-six seats more in Goa than we did last time. BJP will get a good margin majority in Uttarakhand also.
What about Punjab? There has been a triangular fight. It is very difficult to assess the shape of the outcome.
AAP is said to have made huge gains... Maybe.
There were reports of disgruntlement in Uttarakhand BJP as well as a large number of Congress rebels were given tickets… Congress witnessed 22 rebels contesting… more than the case with BJP.
SP has made development its focus in its election. What is the BJP’s main focus in UP? Elections are never contested on a single issue. Akhilesh has made development his publicity plank. Many a people went to Lucknow metro after seeing his advertisement but returned disappointed as the metro is still not operational.
Isn’t SP-Congress alliance a reason for worry? There is nothing to worry. The SP has lost its face in 103 seats (given to Congress under the alliance). Their alliance was an acknowledgment of their defeat. If SP was confident of winning, do you think they would have parted with 103 seats for the Congress?
Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi’s joint press conference became a talking point across the state. What did you make of it? It is for the people of UP to decide.
Many people equated it with the Grand alliance in Bihar which defeated the BJP… Obvious they will ally against us. But we will get more seats after their alliance.
What gives you hope of improving your performance after their alliance? On 103 seats, SP cadre has gone dormant while Congress doesn’t have a cadre.
What do you make of SP feud? Was it orchestrated or was there a real feud? It doesn’t make a difference to us whether it was orchestrated or genuine feud. The electorate has gone beyond it and has made up its mind. Do you think UP will have a bearing on Gujarat? The media has always predicted BJP’s defeat since 2002. And we haven’t lost since 2002. This time too we will win Gujarat with twothirds majority.
Going by the face-off with the Shiv Sena in Mumbai, don’t you think it will have a bearing on presidential elections later this year? See, we contested Maharashtra assembly elections separately but we still remained part of the NDA. We are partners in Maharashtra government as well as at the centre. It will remain our alliance partner after (BMC) elections.
The same charge is being levelled on the basis of BJP’s promise of banning all mechanised slaughterhouses… A sitting party MLA in PM’s own constituency has been disgruntled…