By Shashi Bhushan
New Delhi, Sep 26 (IANS): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will form governments in four states and improve its performance in Punjab, says Arun Singh, the National General Secretary of party.
Elections will be held in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Punjab in February- March next year.
In an exclusive interview with IANS, Singh said that the BJP will be a force to be reckoned with in Punjab after next year's assembly polls and the party government in states are working round the clock for making people's life better.
Also a Rajya Sabha member and party in-charge for Rajasthan and Karnataka, Singh stated that all is well in both the states and they have started preparation for next assembly polls.
"There is no resentment of difference in Rajasthan BJP," he said.
Excerpts of the interview
Q: What are the BJP's chances in next year's Assembly polls in the five states?
Singh: THe BJP is doing extremely well in all the five states. Our workers are working hard among people and we are confident of winning next year's assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Punjab. Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of ‘Sabka Ka Sath, Sabha ka Vikas and Sabka Prayas', the BJP government in the states is working round the clock for improving people's lives.
The BJP will form the government in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand with a huge majority for the second consecutive term. The party's performance will improve in Punjab from its current position. THe BJP will be a force to be reckoned with in Punjab after next year's Assembly polls.
The BJP will be contesting the Punjab polls alone for the first time after one of the oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) broke ties. The situation has changed a lot from the last Assembly polls in Punjab and seeing the work on ground I am confident of a very good result.
Q: It is learnt that the BJP in Rajasthan has decided to break the existing pattern of changing the government every five years in the state. Would you explain about it?
Singh: For decades ,people are seeing a new government every five years. The state unit has decided to draw a strategy to work to change the pattern for a new government every five years. There are many states where the BJP has been in power for many years. We were in power for almost three decades in Gujarat, around two decades in Madhya Pradesh and ruled Chhattisgarh for 15 years in a row.
It has been decided to work in such a way that this pattern of new government every five years in many states must get changed.
In 2017, Goa gave a second term to the BJP for the first time which used to change governments every five years.
In 2019, Haryana elected the the BJP government for a second term. This year in Assam, our government got another term.
Early next year, Uttar Pradesh will elect a BJP government for another five years. Later, Himachal Pradesh will do the same.
The continuity of the BJP government in many states proves people are with development oriented governance.
Q: There is a lot of difference in the Rajasthan unit, where former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her supporters are not on the same page with the state leadership. Is it true?
Singh: There is no resentment of difference in the Rajasthan BJP. Everyone is painting the wrong picture when everyone is working together with the sole objective to dislodge the Congress government in the 2023 Assembly polls.
Rajasthan BJP is one the oldest unit and people, who are saying differences, must understand that like the organisation, the cadre is a mix of old and new. Everyone there is working together.
Raje is a senior leader and the currently National Vice President of the party and she is not in loggerheads with the state leadership.
Q: Lots of controversy erupted when Raje's picture was removed from the BJP's hoarding and posters. Is it true that the incidents have widened the gap between her and the state leadership?
Singh: Let me explain to everyone, we have a basic guideline for using photos in the background of meeting and conference halls and inside party headquarters. It is followed by all the state units and Rajasthan also follows it. Some people with vested interest without knowing the facts spread the wrong information and created a false narrative that all is not well in Rajasthan BJP, which is not true.
Similarly, these guidelines are not followed for putting hoarding outside or in the city.
Q: Earlier this week, Rajasthan BJP held a two-day ‘chintan baithak'. What was the agenda of the meeting?
Singh: I cannot share details of discussion held or decisions taken in the meeting. In the meeting we discussed in detail our plans for the next 2023 Assembly polls.
Q: Will the BJP announce the Chief Minister face in Rajasthan?
Singh: The BJP parliamentary board and Central leadership will decide whether the party announces the Chief Ministerial face or not. In many state elections we won without declaring the Chief Ministerial name. We won Haryana in 2014 and Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in 2017.
Q: Why is the BJP very critical of the Ashok Gehlot government in recent times?
Singh: There is a strong anti-incumbency against the Gehlot government. People are suffering to live a simple and peaceful life. There is a complete breakdown of law and order. Covid-19 management exposed the health infrastructure of the Gehlot government's preparedness.
They were not able to use medicines and a ventilators sent by the Centre. They threw the vaccines in the dustbin, and sent the Remdesivir injection to Punjab. They were also not able to set up oxygen plants for which funds were provided under PM-CARES.
Chief Minister Gehlot's government failed to serve and take care of its own people.
Q: So what are the BJP's plans for the 2023 Assembly polls in Rajasthan?
Singh: We will strengthen our organisation across the state and inform people about the failure of the Congress government. BJP workers will launch a massive 'aandolan' (movement) against the Congress government across the state.