‘BJP manifesto seeks to take an aspirational India forward’: Bhupender Yadav
Bhupender Yadav, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary in charge of Bihar and Gujarat, spoke to Hindustan Times about the party’s recently released manifesto.Updated: Apr 10, 2019 06:37 IST
Bhupender Yadav, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary in charge of Bihar and Gujarat, spoke to Hindustan Times about the party’s recently released manifesto. Edited excerpts:
Q. How different is the manifesto from the 2014 one?
A. We have come to 2019 riding on the government’s achievements from 2014. These achievements include over 5 crore [50 million] women benefitting from the Ujjwala Yojna [free cooking gas connections to poor families] and now this scheme will cover all households in the next three years. Since 2014 we have provided electricity to 18,000 villages. Now, we are saying we will take it to all. We make 60,000 km of highways per year now. We are saying we will double it. We will expand health services and social security measures to cover... small farmers and traders. We have not only accomplished what we promised but… have set timelines for the completion. This manifesto seeks to take an aspirational India forward.
Q. The Congress said the BJP should have issued a maafinama [apology letter]…
A. A maafinama should be brought out by those who held democracy hostage to a dynastic rule, imposed Emergency [in the 1970s], looted the country during their decades’ long rule, …opposed the Triple Talaq legislation [to criminalise the Muslim practice of instant divorce] and did not allow the Bill in the Rajya Sabha for setting up an OBC [Other Backward Classes] Commission.
Q. How would you respond to the criticism that the BJP manifesto is all about one personality?
A. They [Opposition] have not studied our manifesto, which clearly says how nationalism is our ideological inspiration, how antodaya [taking benefits to the last person in the queue] is our guiding force and how good governance is our mantra.They do not have a leader so they have a problem.
Q. There is a perception that the senior leadership has been sidelined.
A. This is totally wrong and the accusation is baseless.
Q. Issues like building the Ram temple and cleaning the Ganga have been part of your past manifestos too. Is it lip service to include these issues again?
A. We have moved ahead on the Ram temple issue. Based on the court judgment, we will explore all options and find a solution soon. Those who are questioning us, we want to tell them that we have not withdrawn from our commitment [to building the temple]. Let them at least make a commitment to the temple. We have made a commitment and make efforts too. And we are confident that our efforts will bear fruit.
Q. Is not this doublespeak that on one hand you leave the issue of Ram temple to the court and when the court takes a stand on the Sabarimala issue, you oppose it?
A. We have gone back to the [Supreme] court [over the ruling that ended the ban on entry of women of childbearing age into] the Sabarimala Temple… We will put forth all the details about the subject of faith, tradition and worship rituals related to Sabarimala in a comprehensive manner before the court. And going forward we will endeavour to secure constitutional protection on issues related to faith and belief.
On the issue of Ram temple, it is the Congress that protests the most in Rajya Sabha. It is their history to protest.
Q. Are you trying to assuage the concerns of traders over demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax rollout?
A. Most people see traders only in bigger cities while small-scale traders are present in large numbers across rural areas and small towns. We are talking about even the ones who own grocery stores in far-flung areas. We feel there is a need to have an economic policy for this segment, which is a service sector.
First Published: Apr 10, 2019 06:37 IST