Updated: January 28, 2022 8:03:08 am
Continuing the BJP’s efforts to reach out to farmers in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, senior party leader and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the issues of “kisan’s ganna” or farmers’ sugarcane should be raised, and not Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s name, in the context of state politics.
Referring to Pakistan, which he said continued to indulge in terror activities, Singh said, “I do not know why Pakistan’s founder Jinnah’s name is often invoked during elections. Those who want to politicise this… in UP’s politics, Jinnah’s name should not be invoked. Instead, we should talk of farmers’ sugarcane.”
He was speaking at a voter interaction in Modinagar, Ghaziabad district, as he joined the election campaign in Western Uttar Pradesh. He was accompanied by Modinagar MLA Dr Manju Shiwach.
The constituency has a sizeable population of Jats and Singh’s comments come a day after the BJP reached out to the Jat community leaders ahead of the February 10 in the Western Uttar Pradesh seats.
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During Wednesday’s meeting, the Jat leaders are believed to have discussed outstanding sugarcane dues with the BJP leaders.
Refraining to comment on the outcome of the closed-door meeting of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other BJP leaders with the Jat leaders, Singh said the Jat community can never be annoyed with the BJP.
“I can say this with assurance because I am very closely associated with them. I am the son of a farmer. When I was the Chief Minister of UP, I had declared that farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh’s birthday should be celebrated as Kisan Divas. He is my idol and has inspired me,” said Singh.
At a meeting of BJP booth-level leaders in Sitapur in November 2021, while referring to SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s remarks where he took the name of Jinnah along with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as those who helped get India freedom, Singh had said, “As elections approach, they (Samajwadi Party) took out the spirit of Jinnah from the bottle. What was the need to talk of someone in Uttar Pradesh politics, who was responsible for the division of the country… Even the Muslim community has condemned the SP for this.” In December 2019, Singh had blamed the Congress for the Partition under Jinnah’s pressure.
Emphasizing that his party did not believe in politics of caste, creed and religion, Singh on Thursday exhorted voters to rise above caste and religion and vote for the BJP on the basis of justice and humanity.
“This time, some forces are working on caste, creed, religion… but I want to tell you all that votes on the basis of caste are not acceptable to us and votes on the basis of religion are also not acceptable to us. Only votes for justice and humanity are acceptable to us, and also those for the country,” said Singh.
The minister reached Modinagar at 1 pm and headed to Sikri Mahamaya temple.
Speaking to reporters after offering prayers, he said that the recent exits of some leaders from the party will have no bearing on the election result and he was confident that the party will win more seats than the previous Assembly elections in 2017. “I will not comment on number of seats or any individuals, but I can say that we will win more seats than last time,” he said.
Heaping praise on Narendra Modi’s leadership, Singh said the country will not get such a sensitive Prime Minister. “Farm laws are an example in this regard. An attempt was made…that there will be a consensus among farmers, but when that did not materialise, he immediately declared that he was repealing the farm laws. There was no vanity or ego that I am the PM and I shall not take back the laws,” said Singh.
Singh said in the past five years, the size of Uttar Pradesh’s economy had increased from Rs 11 lakh crore to Rs 21 lakh crore and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath deserved credit for the state making great strides in several sectors.
“You will be surprised to know that UP, which ranked 12th or 13 th in ease of doing business, now is ranked second and this change has occurred in the past five years. I have also been a CM, but Yogi Ji is more qualified than me,” he said.
Singh said law and order also improved in the state under the Adityanath-led government. “An improved law and order is the first condition for development and UP is headed in that direction. We are building a defence corridor in UP. BrahMos missile will be manufactured there.”
Singh added that the work done by the Prime Minister and Yogi Adityanath in handling the Covid situation was praise-worthy.
On claims of Opposition parties about unemployment being a major concern in the state, he countered, “I want to ask leaders of Samajwadi party, how many employment opportunities existed when they were in power. In comparison, after the BJP came to power in 2017, a historic number of employment opportunities were provided under CM Yogi’s tenure.”
Declaring that BJP was the only party committed to democracy and one which “walked the talk”, he said, “Whether it is Article 370, CAA or Ram Mandir, we have delivered what we promised. … BJP is a party committed to nation building. We will build temples also, we will build country also, but we will not let the country’s heritage to be destroyed.”
After interacting with voters, Singh went to Modi Pon colony in Ghaziabad for a door-to-door campaign.
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