HT interview: Nature of politics has changed, focus is now on governance, says Bhupender Yadav | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

HT interview: Nature of politics has changed, focus is now on governance, says Bhupender Yadav

Apr 18, 2024 05:25 AM IST

Now, Bhupender Yadav, 54, is contesting his maiden election from Rajasthan’s Alwar Lok Sabha constituency , and says he has found the experience “empowering”.

He has been (and continues to be) a well-regarded backroom strategist. He has been a Rajya Sabha member for 12 years. He is a Union minister. Now, Bhupender Yadav, 54, is contesting his maiden election from Rajasthan’s Alwar Lok Sabha constituency , and says he has found the experience “empowering”. Yadav, who expects the BJP to return to power with a clear majority on the back of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s politics of governance and performance, spoke to HT about his promises to the people of Alwar, and the BJP’s developmental agenda. Edited excerpts

Union minister Bhupender Yadav. (PTI)
Union minister Bhupender Yadav. (PTI)

From being one of the main strategists for the party, helping plan elections and overseeing contests to fighting your maiden election.What is the experience like?

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That (strategy) was organisational work and this (contesting polls) means going to the people...When you contest polls you have to focus on certain issues, answer people, and I thank the leadership for this opportunity. This election has been very empowering for me. Yeh ek takt ka chunav raha hai (this election has been very empowering for me). I have received a lot of love, support and encouragement from people from all communities.

What are your priorities for the constituency?

As a member of the union government, I have travelled across the country to carry out Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda. But after travelling across villages, I decided that if I get a chance to become a Lok Sabha MP, the first thing will be to fulfil a promise that has been made in our party’s sankalp patra (manifesto) and is Modi ji’s promise, providing water through the Jal Jeevan Mission. It will be a challenge to meet this promise, but after witnessing the corruption that was prevalent during the Congress regime, and the struggle that women faced to get water, I have resolved that there will be no discrimination in ensuring that amenities are provided to people. The second issue that needs to be addressed is the falling water table in this area. We have industry in Neemrana and Bhiwadi; we have the tiger reserve in Sariska; if we don’t take immediate measures, the situation will get worse. There are so many villages and old havelis that are lying vacant; when I asked why there are no people, I was told people left because of salty water. We will ensure that the water sharing agreement signed between Haryana and Rajasthan is implemented and potable water will be provided.

Read Here | Election In Pincodes: Hope and aspiration, in the shadow of vigilantism in Alwar

Another priority area will be young people. During the Congress rule in the state, we saw corruption and paper leaks; the educated youth suffered when every second month there used to be a paper leak (for a test for a government job). We have promised this in our manifesto as well, that there will be a law against paper leaks and that we will make examinations a wholly transparent exercise in Rajasthan as well as the rest of the country.

The party has been in power for 10 years now at the Centre. How are you so confident that there will be no anti-incumbency?

If you go meet people you will see their support for Modi ji’s governance model. Earlier people used to discuss which party would win and who would lose, now it is clear that Modi’s government will be back. The nature of politics has changed, it has now become politics of performance and governance. Congress politics is about apna aur paraya (us and them) and only oriented towards getting votes. The party conferred the Bharat Ratna to its own family members. When Baba Saheb (BR Ambedkar) was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the Congress was not in power.

The opposition parties have criticised the BJP’s manifesto. They say there is nothing new or substantial being offered.

This manifesto is about increasing the scope of the targets we have already met. Let’s take the case of the Jal Jeevan Mission, we have met certain targets, but we intend to do more. Similarly, we met the target of creating a certain number of Lakhpati Didis (millionaire sisters; this is a credit scheme aimed at boosting entrepreneurship among women in rural India) and building houses under the PM Awas Yojna, now we intend to increase that number and take the schemes further. It is wrong to say there is nothing new in our manifesto. There is consistency and continuity, and the manifesto puts us on the pathway to a developed India by 2047.

Read Here | ‘Modi ki guarantee’ vs Congress's ‘Nyay’: Campaign ends for first phase of Lok Sabha elections

How do you see the BJP countering issues such as caste census being raised by the opposition parties that have come together as the INDIA bloc?

In Kerala’s Wayanad, the Communist Party is fighting against the Congress, but in Bihar they are collaborating. There is no clarity on who is against whom and who is with whom, in such a scenario how will these parties know what their mission is? Caste politics is not merely counting castes. The Congress has never been a party that believed in social justice; they opposed the Mandal Commission in Parliament. People know whatever the Congress says is just political talk.

There are allegations that the BJP has not delivered on promises such as creating jobs?

People can feel the difference on the ground. Here in Alwar, there was a time when there were no government hospitals, now there are two medical colleges. There used to be a single highway, now Alwar is connected to the Delhi-Mumbai super highway. There used to be few colleges, now in Alwar Lok Sabha constituency alone there are eight and Neemrana has three universities. Industries used to struggle here, now this is an export-promotion zone, and all of this happened in the last 10 years. This is the biggest strength of the BJP.

Anti-corruption was a key poll plank of the BJP. The electoral bonds introduced by the BJP are seen as something contrary to that zero-tolerance agenda.

No one has raised a question on the scheme per se. Today, people at least know who has taken how much money. Transparency means people should know money has been taken by political parties through bonds. In fact, the Congress should tell the people how much money was given and by whom in the last 70 years.

Read Here | Lok Sabha elections 2024: List of states going to polls in first phase of voting

Will the BJP be able to breach the bulwark of regional parties in states such as West Bengal and Tamil Nadu?

There is enthusiasm about the Modi Guarantees across the country. I feel we will be able to overcome all obstacles...

How do you assess your performance as the minister of environment and climate change, a crucial sector.

The country under the leadership of PM Modi achieved many new milestones. When I was sent to represent India at COP 26, with the mantra of mission LiFE (lifestyle for environment) and panchamrit (five goals to fulfil), we were able to start a dialogue on sustainable development. Several international climate action programmes were made such as the solar alliance, we have undertaken many actionable programmes with a focus on climate change. Many big-ticket conservation programmes for instance for elephants and tigers, have been started. The environment clearance window has been reduced considerably and we have showcased our strength in reducing carbon emissions and renewable energy.

Will Rajasthan deliver 25 of the 25 seats to the BJP like it did last time?

Absolutely, there is a tsunami of support for Modi ji.

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