Support for the BJP is turning into a tsunami in Uttar Pradesh elections, claims Union minister Manoj Sinha, a key party campaigner. In an interview with HT, he says that not projecting a chief ministerial face has benefited the BJP more. Excerpts:
Q. With just two phases of elections left in Uttar Pradesh, where does the BJP stand?
It is becoming clear that the BJP is not only heading for a clear majority but can even cross the 300 mark (in a 403-member UP assembly). I have been active in politics for 34-35 years but I never saw such an atmosphere. The BJP is witnessing a wave that is stronger than what was there in 2014 Look Sabha polls.
Q. Who do you consider your main challenger -- Rahul-Akhilesh combine or Mayawati? Or, do you see a triangular contest that will benefit the BJP?
There will be a huge gap between the BJP and others. I don’t consider anyone as our challenger. It is true that the BJP has got benefits from a triangular contest but it’s also true that people are fed up with 14 years of SP-BSP misrule. Looking at the government’s performance at the Centre, people of UP are longing for the same here. Even after giving so many Prime Ministers, UP is still a BIMARU state; people believe that only the BJP can get UP out of this category. This is beyond the ken of the SP or the BSP.
Q. If you are so confident about your development plank, why are you falling back on the Hindutva agenda?
Development is our core issue. Re-establishing the rule of law is our core issue. Hindutva is a way of living. But our focus is on three core issues- development, good governance, and law and order. Other things are not so important.
Q. Unlike your main rivals, the BJP doesn’t have a chief ministerial face in UP. Do you think projection of a face would have given you an edge?
Our central leadership decides the party’s strategy that varies from state to state. I believe the BJP has benefited more by not projecting a CM face in UP. We didn’t project anyone in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand and you know the results. Post-elections, the party made responsible, experienced workers as CMs and they are performing well. In UP, as elections advance from one phase to another, the storm that was building in favour of the BJP is turning into a tsunami.
Q. Your political rivals have projected these polls as a contest between ‘UP ke ladke’ (Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi) and an ‘outsider’ (Modi)...
The media has created hype about the gathbandhan but there is strong resentment against Akhilesh government on the ground. Modiji is Varanasi MP. To call him an outsider is blatantly wrong. As for UP ke ladke, their coming together has only damaged them.