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‘Modi’s name, our work will give BJP 74+ seats in Lok Sabha elections’: Yogi Adityanath

Yogi Adityanath has won five consecutive Lok Sabha elections from Gorakhpur but this is the first parliamentary election where he is shouldering the responsibility of leading the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) charge in India’s most populous state.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 27, 2019 23:43 IST
Sunita Aron and Rajesh Kumar Singh
Sunita Aron and Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Lok sabha elections,lok sabha,yogi adityanath
In an interview to Hindustan Times, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister shares his plan to defeat the alliance of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).(HT PHOTO)

Yogi Adityanath has won five consecutive Lok Sabha elections from Gorakhpur but this is the first parliamentary election where he is shouldering the responsibility of leading the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) charge in India’s most populous state. In an interview to Hindustan Times, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister shares his plan to defeat the alliance of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Edited excerpts:

Q: You have given a slogan for 74+ seats. Which are the six seats that you are leaving for the Opposition?

A: The BJP won 73 seats in 2014 [ two of these seats were won by the party’s ally, Apna Dal] when the public and the surveys were not giving the party more than 40-45 seats. But now with [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi’s name and work combined, we are confident of winning 74+ seats as both the SP and BSP are unpopular whereas the people are contented with the Modi government’s five-year performance. India’s image has gone up across the world and today it is seen as an economic power. People have also appreciated the government’s prompt action to defend our country’s borders.

Q: Then why you are sparing six seats, and which are those?

A: We can win more than 74 seats, including Amethi [where Congress president Rahul Gandhi is fighting] and Azamgarh [where SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is contesting], but we want constructive Opposition in Parliament. In fact, 74 is the lower limit I have fixed.

Q: What gives you the confidence of winning 74+ seats ?

A: The previous governments led by the SP and BSP had not taken any interest in the development of the state. They were concentrating on castes and families. They never used central funds for the welfare of the state. Modi implemented welfare schemes and UP became its major beneficiary in barely two years. UP gained from the PM’s flagship schemes like Ujjwala, Mudra, Swachh Bharat, PM housing... The Akhilesh government did not even take advantage of central health schemes under which every district was getting two ambulances under the National Rural Health Mission. Getting a gas connection in the Congress government was a dream while they were sold in the black market during the SP-BSP regimes. Even on farmers’ issue, both the SP and the BSP have no right to talk. Even on cane arrears, it was the BJP government that cleared arrears pending since 2011. [BSP chief] Mayawati sold off sugar mills while we revived and launched new sugar mills.

Q: If you are so confident of winning on your development agenda, then why the politics of polarisation?

A: We have adopted zero-tolerance policy against terrorism. We have not fed biryani to terrorists

Q: Who fed biryani to terrorists and when?

A: The Congress. They greet , welcome terrorists and suffix ‘ji’ to their names, at the same time they abuse the Prime Minister. That’s why it was imperative to send a message to the people that even people who hail terrorists are contesting elections and they should be aware of the consequences. People should beware of those who hail terrorists and play with the security of the country.

Even the Akhilesh government initiated a withdrawal of cases against terrorists, the first step that the government took after coming to power. The BJP has always kept the security of 130 crore people (in mind) while launching surgical strike or air strikes.

Q: Have you shelved temple construction plans?

A: It is the Opposition that raises the temple issue and not us. Ayodhya is associated with Ram and we are providing Ram rajya. There has not been discrimination in the execution of any welfare scheme on caste or communal lines. In fact, we want to change the perception of the state and organised Kumbh, which drew people from across the world. We promoted both pilgrimage and tourism.

Q: Then why do you object to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visiting temples?

A: When did we object to their visiting temples? But their intention should be pure. Why do they visit temples only during elections?

Q: Do you see a bigger challenge from the SP-BSP alliance?

A: Their alliance proves that they are concerned about their very survival in state politics and are feeling threatened by Modi’s growing popularity. They are nervous. I can imagine the humiliation suffered by Mulayam Singh Yadav whose heir entered into an alliance in which the BSP has taken a larger share. In 1993, when the SP-BSP had first entered into an alliance, it was the BSP which played second fiddle to the SP with one- third seats in their kitty. Everybody knows how tickets are distributed in the BSP and like the 2014 polls, the party will not open its account in 2019 also.

Q: What are your three poll issues?

A:Development, good governance and nationalism.

First Published: Mar 27, 2019 23:23 IST