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Rajasthan results will depend on who makes how many mistakes: BJP’s Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

BJP election managment committee convenor Gajendra Singh Shekhawat believes that during campaigning for December 7 assembly election in Rajasthan, Congress leaders making controversial statements will only help the ruling party in the state.

rajasthan elections Updated: Nov 27, 2018 14:04 IST
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan Election 2018,Rajasthan Election 2018 News,Rajasthan Constituency
BJP’s election management committee convenor Gajendra Singh Shekhawat believes the results of the Rajasthan assembly election will depend on who makes how many mistakes. (Prabhakar Sharma / HT Photo )

BJP election management committee convenor Gajendra Singh Shekhawat says no other BJP leader in Rajasthan can match chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s dynamism. In the run-up to the December 7 assembly election in the state, speaking to Urvashi Dev Rawal, Shekhawat says Congress leaders making controversial statements will only help the BJP.

Chief minister Vasundhara Raje is the BJP’s chief minister candidate. But there is anger against her. Do you think naming her as the CM candidate will backfire?

There is no other BJP leader in Rajasthan who is as dynamic or a crowd puller as Vasundhara Raje. If there was any anger or anti-incumbency against her or her government then why would she have (organised) the largest number of rallies. Also, she has done a wrap up of the state through the Gaurav Yatra in which she covered about 130 constituencies and the response has been very good.

Did RSS have a say in ticket distribution? Were they opposing Yunus Khan’s name because they wanted to play the Hindu card?

No. RSS was not opposing any name. Nobody was opposing. RSS doesn’t interfere. RSS is a social organisation and in that capacity it can suggest good names to us.

You said fielding cabinet minister Yunus Khan against state Congress president Sachin Pilot from Tonk was a master stroke by the party and there would be more. What other master stroke does BJP have up its sleeve!?

Yes, pitting Khan against Pilot was our strategy. We were waiting for Pilot to announce his candidature and had left some seats vacant. When he opted for Tonk, we changed our ticket as per our strategy.

As for other master strokes, Congress is giving us many. They are throwing issues into our lap. I think the election will depend on who makes how many mistakes and I’m pretty sure they (Congress) will make several.

Some recent statements by Congress leaders such as CP Joshi and BD Kalla have been controversial. What is your view on this?

Statements by senior leaders such as CP Joshi, BD Kalla, Raj Babbar, P Chidambaram show they are under pressure and so they are making such statements. Otherwise, there is no rationale for such statements.

The Rajput community is angry with the BJP. Do you think they will vote against the party this time?

I don’t think Rajputs will leave BJP. They might become passive and not vote for the BJP. But they will not vote for Congress. We are trying to ensure that they don’t become passive and stand by the BJP.

It was expected that BJP would change a large number of sitting MLAs in the ticket distribution for the assembly elections to overcome anti-incumbency. But that doesn’t seem to be the case?

That’s not true. We have changed as and where required. On the 200 seats, there are 86 new faces as compared to last time.

Was ticket distribution based on the surveys and feedback from party workers?

Yes, ticket distribution is based mostly on surveys by the state and central party leadership. We discussed each seat in the core committee, short-listed names and then discussed them with Amit Shah (party chief) and with his feedback we have decided on the best possible candidate.

The agriculture ministry has said in a report to the standing committee of finance in the Lok Sabha that demonetisation adversely affected farmers, who were left with no cash to buy seeds. What is your comment?

Firstly, the report has not been tabled in parliament, so the report has no legal existence. It is not yet in the public domain, but details are already out. I think the report was purposely planted.

The report, as the Congress is quoting, is based on a note sent by the National Seeds Corporation to the Lok Sabha standing committee on finance, headed by Veerappa Moily. The Congress is alleging that seeds were not sold due to demonetisation.

If that was the case then sale of seeds and production should have declined. However, data shows that the sale and distribution of seeds by central agencies in 2016 as compared to 2015 was more. Sowing of crops in 2016 was more than 2015. For the entire country the net sown area for the Rabi season 2016 was 7-8% more than 2015. And the total production of 2016 over 2015 was also up by 6.5%. So, the Congress charge is baseless.

First Published: Nov 27, 2018 14:04 IST