Interview: I’ll see to it that Vikas Yatra started by Modiji is implemented, says Vijay Rupani | india news | Hindustan Times
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Interview: I’ll see to it that Vikas Yatra started by Modiji is implemented, says Vijay Rupani

Rupani said now that he has a full five-year term, he will make sure the Vikas Yatra started by Modi is implemented properly.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2018 08:38 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Vijay Rupani at the BJP party office in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad.
Vijay Rupani at the BJP party office in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad.(PTI)

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani promises to carry forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development initiatives more energetically during his second stint at the helm, after the BJP won the assembly elections last December in a state the party has been ruling since 2001.

In an interview to Smriti Kak Ramachandran on Sunday, the chief minister said the BJP is the lone party in recent years to buck anti-incumbency as well as wrest power in states ruled by other parties.

It has been over one month since you assumed office, what are your immediate concerns and what are the issues that top the agenda?

This time I have a full five-year term. I will see to it that the Vikas Yatra (development caravan) that was started by Modiji is implemented properly. We will ensure the Narmada project is completed and coastal economy gets a boost. Employment generation will be a focus area, with stress on manufacturing and service sectors and self-employment. For the middle class, the focus will be on healthcare and education.

With just 99 MLAs in the assembly now, has the party made an assessment of what went wrong?

In the past four years, all state assembly results were a mandate against the incumbent government. This (Gujarat) is the first election where the BJP got another chance. A lot of churning on the social engineering front happened in Gujarat in the past two years; the state was socially-upset over caste issues. Social polarisation led to some loss of seats.

The Congress performed better than the BJP in rural areas.

Every election is contested differently. If the Congress’s vote share has gone up in this election, it does not mean it will happen in the next. The Congress could not do what we did to their governments in Maharashtra, Assam, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. We removed them. The Congress could not dislodge the BJP.

Apart from the minorities, Dalits and Patels, farmers and the youth are upset too. How will your government tackle farm distress and unemployment? You are also staring at a water crisis.

More than 80% of the total employment generated in the country is in Gujarat. We are ahead in job creation in manufacturing and service sectors. As for farmers, the shortage of water is for a year. But rabi and kharif crops will get full irrigation. In the past two years, our government has given minimum support price (MSP) for groundnut procurement.

What about meeting the demands of Patidars?

It was an election issue. Hardik (Patel) wanted a truck with the Congress, but it didn’t work. Dalit leader Jignesh’s (Mewani) win was from a seat that has traditionally been won by the Congress; he did not dislodge a BJP leader from there. He will be exposed now, since it is time to deliver.

The recent Supreme Court judgment on fee regulation is a shot in the arm for your government.

There is a perception that self-financed schools are a law onto themselves. We took the initiative to pass a law to ensure transparency in fee determination and make school managements accountable. We want schools to justify the fees they charge. Those offering more facilities can charge more. That is natural, we don’t object. But there has to be some accountability.

We have set up regional committees that will take all aspects, including profit into account and fix fees. Schools can appeal against such committees’ decision with state-level committees. This model, endorsed by the courts, is worth emulating across India.