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Monday, Aug 26, 2019

‘In Patna Sahib, it’s hope versus opportunism’: Ravi Shankar Prasad

This election year, Ravi Shankar Prasad is set to add another feather to his hat as he plunges into the electoral battle for a Lok Sabha seat. He is the BJP’s candidate from Patna Sahib, a seat held for the last two terms by his friend-turned-political rival, Shatrughan Sinha, who is joining Congress.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 04, 2019 07:46 IST
B Vijay Murty and Vijay Swaroop
B Vijay Murty and Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is set to contest elections from Bihar’s Patna Sahib seat.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is set to contest elections from Bihar’s Patna Sahib seat. (HT Photo )
         

Union minister of law and electronics Ravi Shankar Prasad wears many hats. He is a reputed lawyer, Rajya Sabha MP, BJP’s national executive member, the party’s national spokesperson, and one of the world’s 20 most influential leader in digital and e-government. This election year, he is set to add another feather to his hat as he plunges into the electoral battle for a Lok Sabha seat. He is the BJP’s candidate from Patna Sahib, a seat held for the last two terms by his friend-turned-political rival, Shatrughan Sinha, who is joining Congress. During the course of hectic campaigning schedule and meeting people in the state capital, Prasad spoke to Hindustan Times on issues pertaining to polls, his party and his achievements as a member of Modi’s cabinet.

Q: This is going to be your first electoral battle? Are your nervous?

A: Though I have been a member of the upper house of parliament for long, I have always remained connected to people through various party assignments in different states across India. I started my career as student leader, remained associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and ABVP for many years and held various posts in both the organisations.
There are two types of leaders. One is hoisted from above
and the other, like me, who has risen from the ranks. My
first political role was that of a booth agent in 1971. I am a son of the soil, have my home and family members here and keep visiting my home town regularly, meeting people to share their
happiness and sorrows.
I have been in-charge of eight states of India of my party. The states have extended from Tamil Nadu to North-East, Bengal, Bihar, UP and Uttarakhand.

Q:Though Congress has not announced its candidate from Patna Sahib as yet, there is little doubt it would your former friend-turned-political rival Shatrughan Sinha, who is a veteran in electoral polls now. What do you have to say about him?

A: I do not comment on individuals. All I can say is that it is a contest between hope and opportunism. India of 2019 is not the India of 90s where prime ministers were for four-six months. The days of Deve Gowda and Gujarals are over. Here, on one hand, there is Narendra Modi as PM, a leader, a cohesive NDA. On the contrary, who is the leader of opposition, nobody knows. Therefore, the theatre of absurd that we witnessed in Kolkata, where everybody is fighting against each other, shows the rank opportunism. This is not the calling of India of 2019.

Q:How do you rate BJP’s chances in Bihar and pan-India?

A: Historic! I am sure BJP will get majority and along with its allies it will be historic majority. In Bihar, don’t be surprised as things are slipping out of mahaghatbandhan (Grand Alliance). We will get 40 out of 40.

Q: In Bihar, is caste going to be a deciding factor or is it development?

A: Caste is going to be a factor but development will override it.

Q:You are a staunch advocate for integrity. Do you think the government in Bihar fits the bill on integrity count?

A: Yes indeed, without fail. That is why, he (Nitish Kumar) came back. He did not compromise on it and walked off (referring to the GA, which Nitish was part of in 2015 polls).

Q: You believe coalition governments in India will survive?

A: The genuine coalitions will survive for sure. Coalition has three rules. It must have a major party, trust and common ability in programmes. All three ingredients are in NDA. On the contrary, there is a nibbling scenario in opposition.


Q:What have you to offer to voter of Patna Sahib?

A: Patna Sahib ke logo ki awaz ab khamosh nahi hoongi.(The voice of Patna Sahib voters will not get suppressed any more).

Q:Will the air strikes on terrorist camps in Pakistan help BJP?

A: Air strikes are additional bounty. People of India have always realized to re-elect
Modiji to put India on
development agenda. Not even a single country questioned air strikes except my friends in opposition.

Q: As a central minister, what have been your big achievements?

A: My achievements are part of larger narratives of transformation of India that has happened under Modiji. India today is fastest growing economy. India today is emerging as a globally recognized digital power. India today is extraordinarily doing in terms of infrastructural reforms. And long term reforms like bankruptcy codes to GST to whole range of other issues.

Q:Why should people vote for Narendra Modi?

A: India of 2019 is a different India. It is recognized as a global power. LoC is no more sacrosanct. Modi is recognized as a global leader. This election is not a municipal or local or gram panchayat election. It is an election to elect India’s future.

First Published: Apr 04, 2019 01:10 IST

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