Bihar polls: Caste will play no role in selection of CM, says BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiyahttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/caste-will-play-no-role-in-selection-of-bihar-cm-bjp-general-secretary-kailash-vijayvargiya/

Bihar polls: Caste will play no role in selection of CM, says BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya

Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP general secretary, discusses the party’s Bihar strategies and prospects in this interview.

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BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya

What would you say is the key strength of your campaign?
See, the BJP’s membership campaign runs on a “man-to-man” basis, which has helped us set up a party team in every polling booth. These groups are also being asked to campaign from door to door in Bihar.

Who will be campaigning?
Obviously, it’s Narendra Modi leading the NDA campaign. Party president Amit Shah and Union ministers will join him. Sushmaji, Rajnathji… all of them will campaign in Bihar.

Will margdarshak mandal members be there? Have you fixed programmes for L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi?
They can go. They are our margdarshaks..

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said the parliamentary board will sit to decide if the BJP should announce a chief ministerial candidate in Bihar.
See, we will not choose our leader before the election. There is no meeting to decide a leader before elections. Usually, the BJP announces a leader only in states where we are in power. In other states, we fight the election under the leadership of Narendra Modi. Once we get the majority, the elected MLAs will sit together and choose a chief minister.

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Lalu Prasad has emphasised the caste factor and talked about Mandal-2.
It is Modi who gave a new direction to Indian politics in this decade. He has lifted politics above caste and provided development as an agenda. The package he announced forced Nitish Kumar to go for one. It shows the direction taken by the BJP for the elections has been accepted by people. I don’t think the old movies [caste politics] will run in Bihar. If they [Lalu] are trying to push them, voters, especially the youth, will reject them.

Had the polls been caste-based, would you say the BJP have had lower chances?
An agenda of development would defeat caste-based politics any day… Caste politics has its own limitations.

Do you insist an election can be fought entirely on development? Will caste not influence your decision to pick a leader?
Certainly not. Whoever is proposed by the majority of the elected MLAs will be approved by the parliamentary board, whichever caste he or she belongs to. Caste will not play a role in it. The BJP now stands for the development of all sections.

Will the BJP contest enough seats to target a majority of its own?
Though we are not out to bag the lion’s share, the BJP will contest more seats because we are the biggest party. Also, Modi’s widely accepted image would bring an advantage to the NDA. We have a big role, we have a big leader, so we should have a higher number.

What according to you is the biggest challenge for the BJP?
See, we do not see any serious challenges. In fact, victory is clear especially after Mulayam Singh’s exit from the grand alliance, because it has given an impression of a castle of cards starting to crumble. We are determined to march forward slowly. After the response to Modji’s rallies, we feel people have decided victory for the BJP.

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