With elections just a few days away, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) election in-charge for Delhi Nitin Gadkari speaks to HT about the problems the party encountered and the active role being played by national leaders in the city’s politics.
The party declared its chief ministerial candidate rather late. Do you think this will cost the party dear?
We agree there was a delay. But it’s better late than never. Ours is a democratic party. There were several modalities that needed to be worked out, many people had to be consulted before the decision was taken. But it has not hampered our progress as people have already started identifying with him. He has a very clean image, people know the work he has done through his polio campaign. We have an edge over the Congress.
With barely a week to go for elections, almost all senior national leaders are aggressively campaigning. Whose brainchild was this?
Delhi’s win is crucial for us as it is a stepping stone to the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. Our national leaders is ensuring that national issues are also highlighted in the assembly polls. We have delegated the campaigning work to different agencies. While some are looking after social media campaigns, some are handling political campaigns and others are looking at the advertising aspect.
Analysts point out that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) may prove to a spoiler for the BJP rather than the Congress.
AAP started out by saying that they would give tickets only to those who work towards a social cause, unconditionally. Then they started importing our candidates. When the affidavits came out, people realised that AAP had been hoodwinking people, when in reality they had candidates with assets running into several crores. Did they believe that after joining AAP, they would become holier-than-thou? Candidates are a product of the society.
The BJP has been highlighting its chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan’s polio campaign as a landmark achievement, but the Congress has rubbished these claims.
The Congress has lost its mental stability. They have nothing else to talk about, so they are raking up dirt over old issues. They are trying to target Narendra Modi by implicating him in the snooping case and casting aspersions on Harsh Vardhan because of an old sexual assault case. The CM has been in power for the last 15 years. Why did she not bring up this issue then?
Many have pointed out that dynastic politics is evident in BJP’s list too.
We have given tickets to those who deserve. It is just a coincidence that they are related to senior leaders. We don’t believe in dynastic politics, unlike the Congress whose dynastic politics is only too obvious.
Protests broke out after ticket distribution. Do you think the BJP could have handled the situation better?
Before the list, I met every prospective candidate individually. After the names were announced, I made them understand that it was next to impossible to grant tickets to everyone as there are only 70 constituencies.