By Santosh Kumar Pathak
New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS): Expressing confidence of sweeping the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, BJP Uttar Pradesh co-incharge Captain Abhimanyu Singh Sandhu in an exclusive interview with IANS talked about the improved law and order situation in the state and good governance under the Yogi Adityanath government.
He said the days of politics of casteim and minority appeasement are over and farmers' protest has no significant impact on the UP polls especially in western part. He also criticised the Samajwadi Party, Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party having lost their relevance and connect with the masses. Captain Abhimanyu said the BJP is going to be voted back to power in 2022 UP polls with more number of seats.
The former minister in the Haryana government and BJP's Uttar Pradesh co-incharge Captain Abhimanyu spoke on several issues regarding the UP Assembly elections.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Q. What are your preparations for 2022 Assembly polls?
A. BJP workers at the booth level are reaching out to people with the achievements of the Modi and Yogi governments. The BJP's goal is that the party workers should reach out to all sections of the society. Right from the booth level to every other level (including holding large public rallies), the BJP is trying to effectively present its views to the masses through various modes of campaigning.
Q. What is the major poll issue in UP in 2022?
A. The law and order situation has improved in Uttar Pradesh due to which common man and particularly women have started feeling safe. There is a gradual fall in the incidents of crime in the state. The people of the state have seen good governance after a long time and I feel that the people will never want to return to the era of misgovernance.
Q. Which issue would you raise prominently before the people?
A. In the last few years, there has been a transformational change in Uttar Pradesh. Now people are voting for the work of the government instead of casteism or other issues dividing the society. The people will again vote to repeat the good work done by the government. BJP will go to the people with the issue of improved law and order situation, better roads, better availability of electricity, transparency in government jobs, good governance and all other achievements of the government as well as the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'. As far as Ram temple issue is concerned, the opposition parties earlier used to taunt the BJP asking for the date of the temple construction. The BJP has already announced the date of construction as a symbol of the country's pride and honour. But this is not a poll issue for us and neither do we need to say anything about it.
Q. What about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra making frequent visits to the state? She is targeting the BJP government by raising issues such as security of farmers, minorities, Dalits and women.
A. During the last four-and-a-half years, the opposition leaders were neither actively involved in Parliament debates nor were they seen protesting on the streets. All opposition parties which were missing for the last four-and-a-half years are now seen jumping like frogs as the elections are close. These parties have lost their relevance and connect with the masses. They neither have an able leader, policy or vision. The people of UP are not taking them seriously.
Q. You are citing law and order as the biggest achievement of the Uttar Pradesh government but Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav is saying that UP has turned into 'jungle raj' with criminals flourishing in the state and crime rate soaring.
A. For the last four-and-a-half years, Akhilesh Yadav was sitting in AC room, playing politics and now when the elections are near, he is criticizing the state government. People have seen through their politics and have stopped taking the opposition parties too seriously.
Q. What will be the impact of farmers' agitation on the 71 Assembly seats in western UP?
A. The western part of Uttar Pradesh is familiar to me. I have worked in this region in every state election since 2007. Even during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the organisation had given me the charge of western UP and we had won all 14 Lok Sabha seats in this region.
As far as the impact of the farmers' agitation is concerned, the farmers of only three-four districts of this region are active. However, these farmers will never want the politics of minority appeasement to return in the state with the SP-BSP coming to power. So I believe that at the time of elections, the farmers will trust the BJP's policy of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' and will vote for the good governance.
Q. But Akhilesh Yadav, who is contesting elections in alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in western UP, is claiming to defeat the BJP.
A. The people of western UP have suffered a lot under the Akhilesh Yadav government -- false cases were filed, people were tortured in jails. The people of this area can never forget the misrule of Akhilesh Yadav.
So the people of western UP will cast their votes only after taking these issues into consideration. As far as RLD is concerned, it has lost its relevance in the politics of Uttar Pradesh. RLD is nowhere in the state and only will have an impact on not more than 1-2 seats, so people are not likely to go with them. The RLD is fighting for its survival.
Q. Which party will pose a tough fight to the BJP in the state?
A. In Uttar Pradesh today, BJP is way ahead of all opposition parties, so it is not fair to draw any comparison. The BJP is competing to improve its previous tally by winning more number of seats. The rest of the opposition parties are fighting to occupy the second or third position in the state.
Q. So how many seats do you expect to win in next assembly polls?
A. The BJP is making a strategy to win all the seats. But seeing the people's pulse and the performance of the opposition parties in the state, I feel that we are going to form the government again in the state by winning more than 350 seats.