Express News Service
The BJP will win 80 per cent seats in the Uttar Pradesh assembly and in the rest of 20 per cent, all other parties will try to find their feet. The BJP’s agenda is nationalism, development, and good law and order, UP CM and BJP leader Yogi Adityanath told Namita Bajpai in an interview. Excerpts:
Q. With UP polls already halfway, where do you find BJP standing?
A. We are going ahead with nationalism, development and good law and order agenda. We are coming back winning 80 percent of seats in the state and forming the government as people have the confidence that BJP can provide them security and development.
Q. Your statement over 80 per cent vs 20 per cent has drawn strong reactions. Your take
A. I speak only what is real. I have been saying right from the beginning that this is a tussle of 80 percent and 20 percent. People have interpreted this as per their own perceptions. What I meant by saying it was that BJP will win 80 per cent of seats and in the rest of 20 per cent, all others will try to find their feet.
Q. The polls in UP have become more or less bipolar between BJP and SP. Will it impact BJP prospects?
A. In the 2019 General elections, SP and BSP had come together to stitch a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance). Even RLD was also a part of it and Congress had a tacit understanding with them. It had turned out to be a bipolar contest even then as it had become a fight of BJP Vs all. In that election, the BJP had taken a lead on 287-290 assembly segments. It was neither a triangular nor four-corner fight then. It was a straight fight and we won 80 per cent of the Lok Sabha seats. Rest 20 per cent were divided among others. Ironically, Samajwadi Party, leading the grand alliance, had slipped to the number three position. BSP was ahead of it.
Q. Was SP-RLD alliance a setback for BJP in western UP?
RLD was with the SP in the previous Lok Sabha elections as well. The results were there for everyone to see. It is not going to make much difference.
Q. Why has there been an apparent shift from development to law and order in BJP’s narrative?
A. Development becomes real and meaningful only when the poor feel secured and protected. Rule of law is the basic tenet of good governance. The first condition to establish rule of law is a genuine effort made by the dispensation to ensure security and respect to one and all without any discrimination. So we focused on law and order. We have made the state curfew-free, riot-free and fearless. There has been no riot and hence, no prolonged curfews during the last five years. We have inculcated fearlessness and confidence among girls who can now step out freely at any time. It was beyond imagination before 2017. We focused on the issue of rule of law but I have never missed the discussion on the development and welfare of the deprived in my discourse. Possibly, this is the first election post-independence, when people are acknowledging openly that law and order have improved genuinely on the ground.
Q. Your poll speeches reflect that you are back to hardline and aggressiveness?
A. There is neither a hard-line nor a soft line in BJP. We have only a single line shown by Lord Ram to rid the earth of demons or the one shown by Lord Krishna in Bhagwad Gita — Paritranaya Sadhunam (for the welfare of holy people). We follow these philosophies. We work to ensure a peaceful life for people bringing anti-social elements and criminals into the ambit of the law. We have tried to work to achieve this relentlessly and have already got our goal and vision set for the next five years.
Q. SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav feels that your statement — Garmi Utar Jayegi — has offended many.
A. Naturally, the statement will annoy them. The reason is that all those who used to resort to lawlessness and intimidation of others are associated with them. Be it the person behind Kairana migration or rioters inciting trouble from Saharanpur in the west to Mau in the east or even professional criminals and mafia who were hiding in their confines for the last five years, have come out after getting tickets from the Samajwadi Party. They have started showing their colours again by intimidating voters. SP leaders feel offended by my statement because all of those who had been on our radar during the last five years used to run the Samajwadi Party government earlier. They had created a mess in UP. They brought infamy and disrepute to the state. So I consoled the people saying that all will be well after March 10. Secondly, their agenda does not include the welfare of the poor and deprived. They believe in patronizing the mafia and empathizing with terrorists. They are doing it even today.
Q. Do you think the Supreme Court order to withdraw recovery notices against anti-CAA protestors has any impact on BJP prospects?
A. No impact. The state government has already been working on the issue. When anti—CAA riots were plotted here, we had released an administrative order to handle the situation then. Later, we brought an Act in 2020. The government, under the Act, has already set up three tribunals in Lucknow, Meerut, and Prayagraj. Some of the cases have been handed over to the tribunals and the rest are in process of withdrawal when the SC order has come. The apex court has permitted us to act under the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act -2020
Q. Stray cattle is a big issue in this election. Your take.
A. It is not a new issue. It was always there and is not only limited to UP. Secondly, should we allow the slaughter of Gau Mata? We have closed illegal slaughterhouses and I say with conviction that illegal slaughterhouses will not be allowed to operate. Moreover, we have done a lot for the rehabilitation of shelterless cattle. At present, we are taking care of nine lakh stray cattle of which a lakh have been given to farmers to look after. We give an allowance of Rs 900 per month per cattle to the farmer. Even under the guidance of PM Narendra Modi , a new model to deal with the issue is ready in Kashi and it will be implemented in each UP district.
Q. Your statement over the Hijab row created a flutter. Your take.
A. I think personalized attire should be limited to places where there is no defined dress code or uniform. Everyone should abide by a dress code in institutions where it is well defined as it is a matter of discipline. It should not have been made an issue at all as there can be no alternative to discipline. So I feel that the system in the country will be run according to Constitution and not the personal laws.
Q. Why has Aparna Yadav not been given a ticket?
A. Aparna Yadav has not joined the BJP for a ticket. She has been a very good social worker and she has made it clear that she joined the BJP as PM Narendra Modi’s ‘nation first’ sentiment moved her. She believes in nationalism and the party will certainly think about her in the days to come.
Q. Do you think the Lakhimpur Kheri incident has been an issue in this election?
A. BJP is winning all the seats of Lakhimpur Kheri. I have campaigned on all the seats and there is no doubt about the party’s victory there with good margins.
Q. How do you intend to address anti-incumbency against MLAs in various assembly segments?
A. Look, people have to vote for government formation and it will be done if we get an adequate number of MLAs. At least, two years of our tenure were spent in fighting Covid. The BJP MLAs have done a good job but many of them might not have come up to people’s expectations. I appeal to the people to vote for BJP and I assure them that the government will address all issues which people have against the MLAs in their constituencies.