I have delivered results, it shouldn’t be a black mark: Vasundhara Raje
Rajasthan Assembly Election 2018: Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje tells Urvashi Dev Rawal that there is no anti-incumbency and BJP will win the assembly elections based on the work done by her government in the last five years.rajasthan elections Updated: Dec 03, 2018 15:27 IST
As she carries out whirlwind tours across Rajasthan coming to the fag end of the election campaign, chief minister Vasundhara Raje tells Urvashi Dev Rawal that there is no anti-incumbency and BJP will retain power based on the work done by the government in the last five years. Edited excerpts of the interview.
Your critics claim you were inaccessible in your tenure? Do you think that is a just criticism?
Why don’t you look at the facts? I was out for four yatras and countless other visits. We started with the Sarkar Aapke Dwar after elections. Then we had the Aapki Zika, Aapki Sarkar, followed by the Jan Samwad. And we wrapped it up with the statewide Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra. Accessibility is not just about Jaipur. Because some time you have to work. And the result that I’ve given you I could not have done without spending some time (working). So apart from meeting the people, I did spend time in working. I don’t think that should be a black mark. It’s easy to malign a woman. Every election you hear the same thing.
You say that the BJP government has worked hard for five years. BJP national president Amit Shah also said you did a lot of work but failed to market your achievements. Do you agree?
I don’t think so. I think I spent more time working. I didn’t think there was enough time talking to all of you. Either I could do that or I could just work.
BJP is banking on beneficiaries as a vote bank this time?
This is the first time that so many people on the ground have been benefitted. That’s the hard work we have put in during the last five years to bring development to the people. People will be supportive. In our culture, we are taught some things like respect for elders, offering prayers, to respect books and knowledge. Working for people is also part of our sanskar (culture). We are not doing any favour to the people. This is their right. And we are counting beneficiaries so we know how many have received their rights and so I can then pursue it further.
Do you think this election is BJP versus the people?
How can you say that? Not at all. This election is BJP’s election for the people based on the work we have done. Versus them was when earlier governments did nothing and allowed them to lag.
You changed many faces in the ticket distribution. Was it to overcome anti-incumbency?
We used technology and surveys and workers’ feedback and gave tickets according to that. We had to take the wishes of local areas on board. We had a core committee of 15 people and under our national party president Amit Shah’s guidance, we worked hard at it. It was not a mercurial thought to change tickets.
Farmers and youth seem dissatisfied. Do you think the Congress is trying to cash in on their disillusionment?
I don’t think so. If Congress is so concerned, where were they in the last 5 years? They should have gone village to village and spoken to farmers. They have promised loan waiver but the BJP government has already done that. Electricity waiver is already done. Girls education is taken care of. The employment figures are in the public domain and for all to see.
How do you view Manvendra Singh contesting against you from Jhalrapatan?
People want someone who will stay there. Sending someone all the way from Barmer to Hadoti, even people understand that he won’t stay there and this is a one-time thing.
This time issues of religion, caste, creed have all crept into the election campaign. Have development issues have taken a backseat?
I don’t believe that. It is the Congress that is raking up these issues as they have nothing else to say on development. You can criticise but you also have to say what you have to offer.
These elections are being seen as a semi-final to 2019. Do you agree?
All these years these elections have been held in December. No one asked this question before. It’s the media that is hyping up the issue, not us.
If re-elected to power, what will be your priorities?
I don’t think we have done enough on IT. It is the future. For farmers, we have to link them to the market by providing logistics and cold chains. For the youth, we have to bring investment into the state, promote industry, self-employment. We are working on tourism which can offer employment opportunities.
You once said this election is of women. Why did you say that? Women have voted in large numbers in elections.
You would have noticed that women are coming out more and more and they are taking a lot more interest. Being a female CM also has their interest. Lot of them believe that they can also do good things. They are also voting in large numbers. They understand that they can make a difference.
There was speculation that cabinet minister Yunus Khan was not getting a ticket due to opposition by the RSS?
No, there was no opposition. His ticket was held back as part of our strategy. We knew three seats Sachin Pilot would contest from — Nagar, Nasirabad and Tonk — and we had candidates for all three seats.
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First Published: Dec 03, 2018 09:33 IST