What is the message of this mandate in favour of the NDA in Bihar and the BJP in Gujarat?
The BJP has done the politics of good governance in Gujarat from the time when Narendra Modi was chief minister there and the BJP has continued to be in power there because of good governance and strong organisational structure. That is why in 2017-2018 when governments in several states toppled due to anti-incumbency, the BJP continued to be in power in Gujarat even after five consecutive terms.
In the previous Assembly elections in Bihar, there was a challenge before the BJP to keep moving ahead by earning the trust of all sections of society. Because of Narendra Modi’s leadership and the NDA alliance, results in Bihar too are overwhelming this time.
BJP gets non-Yadav OBC votes in Uttar Pradesh. Why does it need JD(U)’s support to get non-Yadav OBC votes in Bihar?
You cannot do ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ by ignoring any particular section or caste. The BJP’s sole aim is to move forward by taking along all sections of society. Alliance is a reality in Bihar’s politics. And the BJP and JD(U) have been together there as natural partners for a long time. Hence, keeping with social equations in Bihar, a strong alliance of the BJP, JD(U) and LJP was forged. We got advantage of that alliance and the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi added to it.
Will this alliance in Bihar continue in the next assembly elections?
Certainly, this alliance will continue.
But Bihar CM and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar appears uncomfortable with some decisions of BJP. Like he was upset with Pragya Singh Thakur. The JD(U) also has a difference of opinion with the BJP on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
He did not make any demand (to the BJP) regarding any of our candidates. In the NDA meeting on Saturday, the PM said political parties can have their own issues. But we will take the country ahead on the development path by connecting national ambition and regional aspiration.
The Yadav community played a crucial role when Mandal Commission recommendations were accepted. Does the poor performance of RJD and SP in the polls indicate that days of Yadav-centric politics has ended?
Mandal did not mean establishment of the rule of one family in the name of reservation for backwards. Mandal was for social justice and not for social feudalism. Families of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad have become symbols of feudalism. They crushed the spirit of justice for backwards and the poor advocated by Dr (Ram Manohar) Lohia… sabka saath-sabka vikas is aimed at everyone’s all-round development… And any caste cannot remain a permanent slave or vote bank of one particular party.
There was the movement by Patidars in Gujarat. How do you see the recent election results in that context?
There has been a long list of Patidar community leadership in the BJP. Maximum MLAs (from the community) are from BJP. When you rule for a long time, people sometimes create confusion.
What difference did you find in organisational work for the elections in 2014 and 2019.
BJP’s organisational base expanded after 2014….This is the first time party president went on organisational tours for at least three days in each state and developed a mechanism to connect with the poor through these 10 crore members…The party was divided in several departments and new programmes were started under Amit Shah’s leadership…. Various such initiatives resulted in BJP forming governments in states like Tripura and Manipur… The number of BJP MPs increased in West Bengal and Odisha.
The BJP seems to have followed a strategy of counter-mobilising against dominant groups, like Jats in Haryana, Patidars in Gujarat, Marathas in Maharashtra and the Muslim-Yadav combination in UP and Bihar. Is it some kind of divide-and-rule?
This is false propaganda against BJP and I completely contradict this allegation. We take all sections of society along. Our vision is sabka saath-sabka vikas. The number of Parliamentarians from Yadav, Jat and Patidar communities in the BJP alone are more than MPs from these communities in all other parties taken together.
The PM has added a new phrase to “sabka saath, sabka vikas” — “sabka vishwas”— and has asked to earn the trust of minorities. How will the BJP earn the trust of minorities even after incidents of cow vigilantism and lynchings?
BJP always condemns every kind of violence, hatred and fear-mongering in the society. We believe that such incidents should not happen. When deception ends, it strengthens the trust and that is our target.
But why will Muslims trust you, given the BJP’s position on Ram temple issue?
The matter is in the Supreme Court. And we have said in our sankalp patra that all the efforts will be made within the Constitutional framework to resolve the issue and we are committed to that.
But BJP hardly fields Muslims in elections. Will BJP give tickets to Muslims in the upcoming Assembly polls in Bihar and other states.
The party’s election committee decides the candidate on the basis of winnability.