Amit Shah, in an exclusive interview to The Indian Express Group, spoke on every issue affecting the overall political atmosphere and particularly the BJP, including vigilantism, lynching, etc.
“With the wide-ranging development agenda we have, Narendra Modi-led BJP will better its performance in 2019,” says BJP president Amit Shah with his usual candour and confidence, brushing aside all criticism including that of polarisation and “change in the air”.
“Polarisation on religious lines for political gains shall not be on the BJP’s agenda. There will be no attempt whatsoever from us that will communalise the political atmosphere,” Shah said, adding: “It’s the media, than anyone else, that is obsessed with it.”
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Shah, in an exclusive interview to The Indian Express Group, spoke on every issue affecting the overall political atmosphere He was totally dismissive of the talk of a “change in the political climate”. Having visited every constituency in the country, Shah believes “there is an even stronger wave in favour of the BJP”. According to him, “Door door tak kahi challenge khada hua nahi dikhata (No opposition is visible anywhere close).”
“The BJP’s support base has touched 11 crore, meaning many we have actually enrolled. The figure will go up even further and they are spread all over. These are all obviously our voters. We will easily sail through even with more than half of them exercising their franchise,” Shah said. He also rubbished the idea of a Mahagathbandhan, a grand alliance of all parties against the BJP. “In which is the state will it work?” he asked. “Voters of almost all states have discredited these parties.”
When asked why then some from the saffron camp appeared interested in vitiating the atmosphere if the BJP was so sure of it’s strength, Shah retorted that BJP leaders are not at all involved in any incidents and that it was the media that created such an impression. There will be no polarisation if media doesn’t rake it up, he said. “Why we should be doing it (the polarisation) at all when we have so much positive agenda to our credit? The BJP has transformed the lives of 22 crore people across 19 states with its innovative welfare schemes. We have built toilets for 7.5 crore homes, 19,000 villages have been provided with electricity, 12 crore individuals are beneficiaries of Mudra loans, 18 crore kids have been vaccinated, 19 crore persons have been brought under health insurance. Add to this road, rail, development work undertaken during our regime. This all is enough for us to sail through in 2019,” Shah said.
The ruling party has been consistently receiving flak for its alleged communal way of handling various issues, including that of Jammu and Kashmir. Shah, however, doesn’t think so. His response to this was that the BJP is trying to correct “historical wrongs” that have taken place in handling of the J&K right from the independence. “Any good government should work for less developed regions. So in J&K if a lot of work is seen happening in Jammu and/or Ladakh, it’s because these regions have been left way behind due to faulty policies (of the past governments). We just are correcting those,” he said.
The BJP president also rejected the criticism of the party being “alliance unfriendly”. He feels there is not much to read in the Telugu Desam Party leaving the coalition and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s recent criticism of the BJP. “It’s the TDP’s decision and we won’t go to it with a plea to revive. And as far as the Shiv Sena is concerned, we believe they as of now are in alliance and with us in the government. Why should I take note of them as long as they continue to be with us?” the BJP president asked, avoiding any direct or indirect criticism of the Sena. He, however, indicated the possibility of new alliances being forged ahead of 2019. “It’s natural to have some plus and minuses in any alliance. Parties find new friends. It’s perfectly legitimate to have pre-poll alliances, even new, which give voters a clear idea who’s with whom.” His answer was a grin when asked if the BJP was looking at Sharad Pawar-led NCP as a prospective alliance partner. “As of now we are in alliance with Shiv Sena,” was his cryptic reply when probed further. “See, no one should confuse Modiji’s personal rapport with leaders of different parties vis-a-vis the BJP’s likely or unlikely alliances,” he said.
(Full interview in Sunday Indian Express)