People in UP have decided to vote for BJP this time–Arun Singh
Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections are round the corner. BJP’s national secretary Arun Singh talks with Uday India’s Correspondent Nilabh Krishna on issues related with party’s strategy in UP’s election and other issues. Excerpts:
Q. Recently after the Uri attack, India conducted surgical strikes across LoC. Don’t you think this has enhanced PM Modi’s and party’s image? Also won’t it benefit the party in the upcoming assembly election in UP?
Surgical strikes on Pakistan were for the protection of our country. We don’t see this incident against the backdrop of elections or politics. As far as taking credit of this incident or image enhancement of the party is concerned, I affirm that this strike has emboldened the spirits of 125 crore people of India and boosted the morale of our armed forces. And we are not playing any politics on this issue.
Q . After the strike, Rahul Gandhi said that in the last two and half years PM has acted like a PM.
At least in the last two and half years, he praised the PM, otherwise he is ever ready to ridicule any positive step taken by the government. I mean to say that for the sake of pointing finger he points the finger. So, one must take into account that at least he praised the PM.
Q. You are from UP, so what are BJP’s strategy for the upcoming assembly elections?
See, for the last 14-15 years, BJP is not in the government in the state, both BSP and SP have took turns to form the government in the state and in these 14-15 years, the state has lagged behind. There are no roads in the state. The condition of electricity is very dismal. A norm has been made that for 15 days power will come in day and for the next 15 in the night. Hospitals are worn out and, most of all, law and order situation is worse than ever. Murder, dacoity, kidnapping are on the rise. People are suffering. For the last 8-10 years, not a single industry has been set up in the state. When BSP was in the government, it acquired thousand acres of land from the people near Allahabad on the pretext of setting up a power plant but it never got fructified. One must take into account that if a large state like UP lags behind in development, the whole country gets affected by it.
The basic difference between the two parties, i.e. SP and BSP, is that when SP is in the government, law and order situation in the state breaks down and when BSP is in the government corruption takes the centre stage. Law and order situation and corruption both are main stays of these parties. SP and BSP are the two sides of the same coin, whereas BJP’s coin has development on its both sides. So, people have made up their mind this time. Earlier people didn’t have options but this time BJP is emerging as an option there. People are watching how the Narendra Modi-led government is excelling on development agenda and that’s why stupendous excitement is being seen in the state in the favour of the party.
Q. A majority of political parties generally don’t contest elections on development agenda. And when the Atal government at the Centre adopted the development agend , it wasn’t voted back to power. What will be your strategy regarding this?
Regarding this, I have a different viewpoint. In the last decade, one can see a new kind of politics emerging, in which people have voted either for development or for anti-incumbency. See, in Rajasthan, where we projected our development agenda in front of the people and along with anti-incumbency against Congress, Vasundhra got 85 per cent of the seats. Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Raman Singh are into their third term due to their development agenda and in Assam too, people have accepted our development agenda instead of Congress’ mi-rule. So, this means wherever we have projected our development agenda, besides anti-incumbency factor, we have seen people floating towards us. That’s what we are going to project in Uttar Pradesh.
Q. Then, why was Kalyan Singh not voted back to power?
Still people remember the good law and order situation during Kalyan Singh’s rule. Even Rajnath Singh’s rule is remembered by the people for his “Kisan Panchayat” and other schemes and also for the best law and order situation. It is true we got a little time in the state and for getting work done at the lowest level one needs to get some time.
Q. Congress has projected Sheila Dixit, a Brahman face, as the CM candidate. So how will BJP overcome this?
For one, Congress has lost its public support in the state and, two, Sheila Dixit had taken retirement from politics. But Rahul Gandhi knows that he can’t win even 10 seats in the state that’s why he has projected her as the CM candidate so that she is held responsible for the defeat. As far as BJP is concerned, it does not do caste politics.
Q. Distributing tickets or portfolios on caste lines has been the domain of every party, whether it is SP or BSP or Congress. Even BJP is not aloof from it.
We don’t indulge in caste politics. Raman Singh comes from Rajput clan and there is only one per cent population of Rajputs in Chhattisgarh, even then he became the CM for the third time. Today people are more interested in development agenda or in the people who know how to work.
Q. For the last two-three years, from Rajnath Singh to Kalraj Mishra, every big-wig of UP BJP is in Delhi and UP elections are round the corner.
At this time, more than 50 leaders of BJP are in Lucknow. Our state chief Keshav Maurya, Surya Pratap Sahi, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Ramapati Ram Tripathi, Om Prakash and Vinay Katiyar, who all had been our state chiefs, are in the state and most important of all, our 71 parliamentarians are from the state.
Q. Will Ram temple be on agenda of the party in this election?
Ram temple was never a political issue for BJP. It has always been a matter of faith. People of the nation and crores of Hindus want that a huge temple should be made but the issue is sub judice and only court order can give a go-ahead for the temple to be constructed. It can also be constructed with a pact between Hindus and Muslims. But this issue has never been a political one for the BJP, for faith always comes above political issues.
Q. You projected Sonewal as CM face in Assam. Will you do the same in Uttar Pradesh?
See we have made governments in many states without projecting any CM face. Like in 2003 we had made government in Chhattisgarh without projecting Raman Singh as CM, so did we in Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand. In Madhya Pradesh, we had Shivraj Singh Chauhan and in Assam we had Sonewal and we formed the government in those states. Yes, we failed in Bihar, but in both conditions it is up to the parliamentary board of the party to decide whether to project someone as CM candidate or not.