How does the Congress-SP alliance affect the BJP’s prospects in UP?
SP, Congress, BSP have a common agenda to stop BJP. Our agenda is to stop corruption, end bad governance, unemployment, to establish good governance and create an atmosphere of inclusive growth. Today Congress is like a benaami property with a “To let” sign on its door, seeing which tenants come flocking… but the problem is it is a benaami property so the tenant also loses by going with it. It is such a cruise of corruption that whoever joins it will get tainted. That is why the SP-Congress alliance is not very important…. BSP is the home of select bahubalis, a safe haven for them. BJP is a very strong alternative; had it not been so all these people would not have come together to stop BJP.
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Won’t Priyanka Gandhi playing an active role help the Congress?
Priyanka, Rahul Gandhi, Robert Vadra or their entire family… have campaigned in the past too, it is not surprising. To extrapolate this to mean Priyanka will create some miracle for Congress is a bit too much… Whether she comes or someone else comes we do not see any significant gains for either Congress or this alliance.
Your manifesto includes Ram Mandir…
Amit Shahji has said this clearly — within the framework of the Constitution. If we have faith in Constitution… anybody who has that faith should not have an objection… Ram Mandir was not a necessity. This issue was in our last manifesto, in the LS manifesto too. We have always said either through courts or through consensus within the framework of the Constitution it should happen.
Will Muslims vote for you after this?
For Muslims the biggest issue is employment, education, empowerment. That is why people who used to mislead Muslims through non-issues will be disappointed this time. The bogey of BJP that used to be peddled earlier —see there is a BJP government at the Centre for close to three years, there are BJP governments in many big states like Maharashtra, MP, Rajasthan and Jharkhand. In every state minorities or Muslims are secure.
You are from UP, do you consider yourself one of the contenders for the top post?
Not at all. Within the party there is no confusion on a CM face. We are confident that the government will be of BJP and the CM will be of BJP too. We will have a very effective person as the face of CM, a person who understands UP. BJP has fought and won many states without a CM face, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Haryana.
What is it about RSS comments against reservation whenever BJP is heading for elections in a caste-conscious state – Mohan Bhagwat before Bihar and now Manmohan Vaidya?
RSS has clarified this, so I do not think anything more remains to be said on this. People know very well and have faith that BJP is clear on reservation – the poor, the weaker sections, till they become part of mainstream progress, there is no question of ending reservation.
There are suggestions that there may be an understanding between BJP and BSP should neither party manage a majority.
There is no question. There will be no understanding with BSP either before polls or after. BJP will form government on its own steam in UP. People trying to spread that confusion are doing so with a politically prejudiced mindset.
What effect will demonetisation have?
Demonetisation has brought the biggest benefits to the poor, the weaker sections. It has shaken the corrupt system. The impediments in getting the light of development to the poor like corruption black money, those barriers have been removed.