Elections are round the corner. Little over 13 months have passed since I took over as the state president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh. It’s 1 am. As I speak to you, I realise that with just one off in 13 months, I have hardly noticed how months have appeared and disappeared on the calendar. I have been on the roads, most of this while, reaching out to the people of the state, who are terrified by the shockingly indifferent regime, out to quell all democratic protests by brute force.
People are waiting to vote out this government, easily the most corrupt, the most vengeful and the most insensitive, till date. If we come to power in UP, we would order probe in all cases of crime and corruption. The guilty, no matter how high and mighty, would be brought to book.
We would put our best foot forward. We aren’t going to be cowed down by government threats or use of sarkari lathis or bullets.
Whenever we have opposed the government, we have been caned and water cannoned and charged with playing politics. If opposing draconian measures of a corrupt and insensitive government, which is patronising criminals, is politics, so be it.
The sarv samaj, which gave BSP a historic chance to serve the state, feels cheated now. Rapes and murders are now common in UP. Traders are fleeing the state and no new industry is being set up.
Do you know that each person in UP is under a loan of Rs 10,000 for the state’s total debt is around Rs 2 lakh crore! And why is it so? Because the government has been busy making merry at the cost of the poor man of the state — installing statues, creating force to protect the parks built by it, acquiring farmers’ land by force and selling it to its preferred industrialists for a whopping profit or making loyalists happy.
During the BJP rule in 1991, we had set out on a mission of establishing Ram Rajya in UP. We would have succeeded too but our successive regime was a coalition one, which affected our credibility as well as hampered our performance.
Will or power?
The BJP is all hope for the 2012 assembly polls in UP. The crowds are back in our rallies. The party cadre is excited. There are problems and the UP’s BSP government, which is busy committing hara-kiri, appears to have set up the stage for the UP battle. We intend to increase our vote share from 19% (2007) to around 30% by 2012.
If that happens, the BJP would form its own government in UP. And in a way, it’s going to be a battle of will vs power, BJP vs the BSP. The re-induction of Uma Bhartiji is certainly going to help the BJP and so many people who for some reason were upset with us are now coming back to us.
We have the will (to bring about a meaningful change). The BSP has the power (which it has frittered away, pursuing personal agendas and patronising criminals). Our leaders and party workers have reached 37,000 villages (we would cover even more in the run up to elections), in the state, established a rapport with the people residing in rural UP.
People have been warm and honest with us.
They have welcomed us. But they also wanted to know why we didn’t approach them earlier. But the whole exercise, starting with the Gaon Chalo Abhiyaan, has introduced the BJP to rural UP and as we go about consolidating our position ahead of the elections, emphasis would continue to be on sampark and samvaad (contact and communication).
With the guidance and experience of our senior leaders like Rajnath Singhji, Kalraj Mishraji, committed Hindutvawadi like Vinay Katiyar and Yogi Adityanath and energy and talent of young guns like Varun Gandhi, we certainly are sure of making a meaningful impact in UP. In fact, BJP is full of leaders wedded to nationalism. Hardly any party has as many experienced faces as we have.
Our mass contacts programmes have brought out horrifying tales of government neglect.
People are eager to throw this government out. And I am being honest when I say that BJP is the only alternative. With our motto of sushasan (good governance), we would confidently approach the people and we hope that having seen our leadership and our governance in the past, they would give us another chance.