Op­po­si­tion Must Ask For Votes Against Demo. We Are Ready For It.

Q&A

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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…

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