The way you have been campaigning in UP,people are now saying the entire BJP campaign is on your shoulders.
Well,that is not true. Many of our leaders are there. Rajnath Singhji,Uma Bhartiji,Advaniji,Sushmaji,Arun Jaitley,Kalraj (Misra),Vinay Katiyarji are there… Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is there tomorrow.
But Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is not there.
Well,he has said he is busy in Gujarat. And (he had) his Sadhbahavna mission programme,so he is not able to give time. The party did request him but it was for him to take time out to campaign. Only he can answer how he can take time out,or whether he can at all.
Does it amount to an act of indiscipline?
We cannot call it indiscipline. Maybe he is genuinely busy. There also are other BJP ministers who did not campaign.
Has Modis image become bigger than the partys?
I will not comment on this. All I will say is that he is a popular chief minister of Gujarat and has worked to make the party stronger. He is a role model for development. He has the capacity to lead the BJP at the national level. My best wishes are with him.
There is a perception that he chose to stay away from UP because you promoted his arch rival Sanjay Joshi there.
Such a comparison is unfair. Sanjay Joshi is just an ordinary worker of the party,he is not even a pracharak. He is only an effective worker. I took Joshis support in Uttar Pradesh and gave him some responsibilities. I dont think Modi is angry because of Joshi. Modi is a very tall leader,I dont think such small matters should trouble him.
You say the BJP is a dark horse in UP but the general perception is that BJP will come either third or fourth.
Every passing day is strengthening the BJP. People dont want Mayawati’s corrupt government or the Samajwadi Partys goonda raj. As an alternative there is the Congress or the BJP. But the Congress has destroyed the country with its corruption and rising prices. As a result the people dont want to associate with the Congress. The only alternative therefore is the BJP. Also both the Congress and the SP have been playing appeasement politics,as a result of which there is polarisation. There is a strong reaction from the backwards because of their promise to give a chunk of the OBC reservation to minorities… Seeing the undercurrents,I can tell you that the benefit will go to the BJP. It can even propel the BJP to the first position,which wont be surprising,which is why I say BJP is the dark horse.
Is that why you decided to counter Mayawati with Uma Bharti?
Well,a party does everything possible to win. Uma Bharti is a popular leader of the party. She has a national stature,an image of her own. She also has an OBC background. In such a situation,she is getting a very good response in UP. That is why I had asked her to come back to the BJP and work for the party in UP. This has proved successful,party has gained by her presence.
What will her role be in UP if the BJP is not able to form government in the state. Will she be leader of the opposition?
Uma Bharti is a national leader,she does not belong to Uttar Pradesh alone. Her stature is much larger. She will be working for the BJP in the whole country. As far as leadership of BJP in UP is concerned,I have already said elected MLAs will decide their leader.
Your tenure as BJP president is coming to an end in December. How do you see your term so far?
It is up to you to make an assessment. I am an ordinary worker of the party. I want to for the poor,society and country. Politics is an instrument of socio-economic reform,this is what I think. Whatever responsibilities I was given,I have tried to do my job to the best of my ability. After this,whether I am made vice president or just an ordinary worker,I will be satisfied and just do my job. But I think we have made the party stronger in states like Bihar. In the five Assembly elections too,I think the party will fare well.
What about disappointments?
I think for the best and prepare for the worst. Therefore I dont worry. I have nothing to lose.