“Narendra Modi’s Popularity Has Played An Important Role In Winning These Elections”
BJP President Rajnath Singh speaks candidly about the recent results of the election in four states with Deepak Kumar Rath. Excerpts:
What is your reaction on recent state election results?
■ We in the BJP are satisfied with the results. Madhya Pradesh has been a model of good governance for the BJP. It is a state represented by Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan who turned it around from its original ‘bimaru’ status and put it on development path. Its road network has also increased substantially and the social schemes have been successful. The party has retained the state in three successive elections eliminating the possibility of anti-incumbency.
In Chhattisgarh, the party has retained its strength and is in a position to form the government for the third time in succession. Now, if the government in Madhya Pradesh continues till 2018, it would be a fact that Madhya Pradesh saw the last Congress victory only in 1998, i.e. 20 years ago. Rajasthan is the important victory for the BJP. Vasundhara Raje’s leadership has a huge acceptability. This is the largest majority BJP has ever received in Rajasthan. We have won 82 per cent of the seats in the state.
We would like to thank the people of these states, who have voted for us and has exuded confidence in the party. People have approved of the good governance promised and given by our respective governments of these three states. Generally, when elections are held in a state, there are chances of anti-incumbency, but in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, there was no such thing, rather it was a pro- incumbency factor. The results of these three states and Delhi have once again proved that Congress has been rejected by the people.
What will you say about the performance of the party especially in Rajasthan?
■ In Rajasthan, Congress leaders were promoting the development model of Ashok Gehlot as the best model of development, but the results have proved otherwise. Those Congress leaders, who were patting themselves on the back, are now biting the dust. Congress has been decimated thoroughly in Rajasthan. It proves that people have accepted the fact that if any party that can give ‘good governance’, it is the BJP. We didn’t have to worry about the anti-incumbency factor. In fact, it was the pro-incumbency factor, which has given us more seats than what we had earlier.
What will you say about Delhi?
■ In Delhi, even though we are the largest party, the result is below our expectations. We had expected at least five-six seats more than we have won. I offer my congratulations to the Aam Aadmi Party for performing well in its first ever electoral endeavour. AAP campaign was noticed by the people and its mode of communication was effective. It is, however, yet to be tested whether, in the long run, the campaign based on cynicism can be indefinitely sustained.
Would the BJP form the government in Delhi?
■ Since we have not got clear majority in Delhi, we would not form the government there. We are a principled party that does not believe in horse trading. In politics, the BJP has remained a supporter of clean politics, transparency, honesty and being answerable. Power to us is a means to care and serve and not just a means to fulfill ambitions.
What was Narendra Modi’s role in these results?
■ See election was held for 590 seats, out of which we have won 408 seats, which is approximately 69 per cent of the total seats. It clearly signifies that people have voted for change. This is an indication given by the people for the 2014 general elections and also we can’t ignore the fact that the popularity of our prime ministerial candidate Shri Narendra Modi has caught the imagination of people and we have benefitted by it. It is true that our chief ministerial candidates’ popularity has also got us votes. But after the whole analysis, we can say that Narendra Modi’s popularity played an important role in winning these elections.
But Modi is dubbed communal by secular brigade.
■ Narendra Modi is not communal. BJP is a secular political party and Narendra Modi is a part of it. Everyone working in the party is secular.
It is said that a large section of Muslim, Dalit, OBC voters are not with the BJP, so how are you planning to win the 2014 general elections?
■ Who says that these sections don’t support us? We believe in working for all communities and sections of the society—irrespective of their caste and creed. Our leadership, particularly the chief ministers, is drawn from every strata of the society. We draw support from all the sections—be it the OBCs, SCs or STs. I believe if we don’t have support of these sections, then the BJP wouldn’t have become a party of such a big political stature. In recent elections, in Rajasthan, we have received at least 25 per cent of Muslim votes, as compared with a mere 7-8 per cent in 2008. Muslims make up 7-8 per cent of voters in Madhya Pradesh and there also we have a clear majority. These results show that people of any community go with the government that gives them good governance and development.
What will you say about the Community Violence Bill to be placed in winter session of Parliament?
■ See the draft bill is based on a version submitted by the Sonia Gandhi headed National Advisory Council (NAC) in 2011 and is skewed against the majority community as it only recognised religious and linguistic minorities as “groups” victimised by communal violence. It is a poll gimmick to polarise the country on communal lines.
What will you say about the debate on Article 370, started by Narendra Modi?
■ Party view on Article 370 has not changed ever. Party stands firmly on its demand of abrogation of Article 370. We have spent so much time on struggling for this demand that it is not possible for us to change our view on this issue. If under the NDA, we could not change it, it was because ours was a coalition government and we had a Common Minimum Programme, acceptable to all our allies. And in the CPM, abrogation of Article 370 did not figure.
What is the objective for preparing Vision Document before the 2014 Lok
■ The BJP has started preparing “Vision Document” with an eye on making India a super economic power, under the BJP-led government. People will reject Congress in the next Lok Sabha polls too. In fact, BJP will project its vision on the country’s economic, industrial, agricultural, defence, foreign and other policies in the document and pinpoint bad governance and corruption of the Congress-led UPA government. It will be our fight with bad governance and corruption.
There is a general feeling that at the Centre, BJP’s opposition to the UPA regime has been very soft and confused.
■ This is not true. We cannot afford to be soft on UPA which in its present condition is a national disaster. The people are on the edge, they are getting restive and impatient, the masses are so angry with the UPA misrule that anytime it can break the ceiling and blow out in the open. The recent election results have in a way shown public anger in a big way. The BJP is doing everything to expose the misdeeds and incompetence of the government.