In a chat at his Lucknow residence, Rajnath Singh tells Lalmani Verma he would prefer continuing as BJP’s national president after the LS polls and decisions on the role of senior party leaders in the government would be taken by Modi.
What will be your role in the government if the NDA wins and Narendra Modi becomes prime minister?
I will not be part of the government and will continue with the responsibility of party national president as two years of my tenure are still left.
Is there any possibility of you becoming the PM if the NDA wins?
Not at all. Modiji is NDA’s prime ministerial candidate and he will be the PM.
What will be the role of senior leaders like L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj if NDA forms the government?
It will be the prerogative of the PM to decide who will be a member of Cabinet.
Why did you leave Ghaziabad and decide to contest from Lucknow?
It is the party’s Central Election Committee (CEC) that decides the constituencies for candidates.
There is a feeling that senior leaders like Advani, Joshi and Jaswant Singh had to make a demand for the seats they wanted to contest.
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The CEC decides constituencies for leaders as per the party’s strategy. If senior leaders are not informed about their possible seats sometimes, they indicate the seats they want to contest. But this never becomes an issue.
Was there any delay in communicating the information about their seats to Advani, Joshi, and Jaswant Singh, which led to controversies?
No, the CEC took decisions on candidates and their seats at the right time.
Swaraj had opposed the induction of B Sreeramulu in the BJP in Karnataka. Is there a political compulsion to give tickets to outsiders despite senior party leaders voicing their apprehensions?
People were connecting Sreeramulu with the Reddy brothers. But he has no connection with the Reddy brothers and he has a separate political party. Opponents could have made it an issue. As party president, I asked Sushma to make her opinion public through a tweet if she wished.
Which are the states where a post-poll alliance is possible? Is there possibility of an alliance with Jagan Mohan Reddy’s party in Andhra Pradesh?
Alliance with some parties will be finalised in the next few days. About specific parties, let’s see what happens.
The party had earlier decided to contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP. Has the party decided to ally with Apna Dal to ensure Modi’s victory in Varanasi?
There was no such decision that BJP will contest all seats on its symbol. An alliance has been done only with Apna Dal, but that is not for the Varanasi seat because Modiji will win any seat he contests.
What are the expectations of the BJP from UP in Lok Sabha elections?
The results would be beyond expectations. BJP will win more than 50 seats in UP.