On his first day in office, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari — who was appointed the Delhi unit chief on Wednesday — hit out at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for being against demonetisation and said AAP leaders too should make their bank statements public. With municipal polls around the corner, Tiwari tells The Indian Express about the challenges he is likely to face as he takes over the unit, which has been marred by infighting.
Do you believe the municipal polls are going to pose a challenge with AAP as the prime competitor?
We always believed the polls will be a challenge, especially after we lost 67 out of 70 seats during the 2014 assembly elections. We cannot ignore this. But we have analysed the results of the bypolls held last year and found that AAP’s graph has gone down in the 67 seats. This indicates people’s disgruntlement towards the party. We believe the upcoming polls will see people voting on demonetisation. The BJP has hit out at the root of corruption and the public knows it. This is why they aren’t complaining despite standing in queues for long hours.
Your term as a BJP MP must have made you realise the issues on the ground. What issues is the party likely to face in the run-up to the polls ?
The main issue would be that of corruption. We have waged a war against corruption through demonetisation and we will win because of this. Kejriwal had fought the 2014 elections on the issue of corruption and now he has come out in support of the corrupt and is protesting on the streets against demonetisation. If Kejriwal believes in transparency, he and his MLAs should make their bank statements public. Apart from this, we are also stressing on cashless banking and focusing on Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.
The first thing you did after you took over was raise the issue of homeless people in the capital. This is something which AAP too had raised when it came to power. Was it a strategy?
We expect the government to provide shelter to the homeless. I will meet the Lieutenant Governor regarding this.
What do you have to say about the Supreme Court’s decision to make playing the national anthem mandatory in theatres?
Those who say the national anthem should not be made mandatory should home school their children… Things need to be institutionalised in order to put them in to practice. Just like we teach our children, people should be made familiar with such things.
How will you tackle dissidents in the party?
We are not gut (factions) but ekjut (united).
What weaknesses have you identified in the BJP?
There are no weaknesses that we know of. The national leadership gives us duty and we implement it. But the media keeps asking us this question. We need to figure out why they are doing so.