An alliance between BSP chief Mayawati and former chief minister of Chhattisgarh, Ajit Jogi, will do great damage to the Congress in Chhattisgarh, says Chhattisgarh agriculture minister Brijmohan Agrawal. In an interview to Shashi Bhushan, Mr Agrawal also said that Opposition parties’ attempt to make the 2019 general election “Modi vs All” will not help realise their goal.
How is the BJP going to beat the anti-incumbency factor of 15 years of rule in the coming Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh?
There is no anti-incumbency in Chhattisgarh. In the last 15 years, the BJP government has consistently worked for the overall development of the state. We have registered tremendous growth in all sectors. The BJP government has also initiated several social welfare measures to improve the living conditions of the poor and all the sections of society. There is pro-incumbency in favour of the BJP. The pace of development has accelerated with the support of the Narendra Modi government which came in power at the centre. People have seen BJP’s work and we are confident they will stall the development of state if they elect a non-BJP government. There is some anti-incumbency at the local level and the party’s central leadership has already denied tickets to 14 sitting MLAs in order to handle the situation and look after the people’s aspirations.
What will be the issues on which the BJP will be seeking votes this time?
Development and only development! We are telling people about what changes the BJP government has made in their lives through development. Each corner of the state is well connected through a good network of roads, and health facilities have improved tremendously. Government is working to provide self-employment through several initiatives started by the Narendra Modi government like Skill India, mudra loan, and others. Chhattisgarh has moved ahead in the last 15 years under BJP rule and we wish to continue the momentum for the coming five years. People will elect a BJP government which will keep the wheel of development moving.
Did the BJP fulfil all the promises made in the 2003 manifesto?
The BJP government in Chhattisgarh has fulfilled 90 per cent of all the promises made since 2003. Only 10 per cent of the promises have failed to become reality due to several reasons and hurdles. The BJP government is working to clear the obstacles to make those promises a reality. Apart from promises made in the manifesto in last year’s Assembly polls, the BJP government has also taken several welfare measures to benefit people.
Will Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) joining hands with Ajit Jogi affect the BJP’s prospects in the state Assembly polls?
Ms Mayawati joining hands with Mr Jogi’s party will not have any impact on the BJP’s poll prospects. On the other hand, Ms Mayawati and Mr Jogi’s alliance will do great damage to the Congress in Chhattisgarh. The Congress should be more worried about this alliance where their former party man (Mr Jogi), instead of joining hands with them, formed an alliance with the BSP.
We are not worried about any alliance. Instead, a weaker Opposition is trying to join hands to save themselves from a humiliating defeat. In Chhattisgarh, neither the Congress nor Mr Jogi has any impact on voters.
How do you see the formation of the much talked about “grand alliance” for next year’s Lok Sabha polls after the BSP did not join the Congress-led alliance in the Assembly polls?
The Modi government is working day and night with the sole objective of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”. People appreciate the union government’s development work and it is reflecting in election results across the country.
When the Opposition failed to counter the Modi government’s developmental agenda, they started talking about Opposition unity to defeat the BJP and Mr Modi. But the differences within the Opposition parties are so wide that they are unlikely to join hands and smaller parties are also not ready to accept the Congress in the lead role in the alliance.
Ms Mayawati joining Mr Jogi in Chhattisgarh or not responding to the Congress’s appeal to form an alliance in any states where polls will be held in November and December, shows the differences within the Opposition.
The Opposition is trying hard to make 2019 general election a contest of “Modi vs all” but it will not be realised and will remain a dream for the BJP’s rivals. Right now no party or leader is capable of challenging Mr Modi and his work.
Being an agriculture minister, how do you see the farmer’s unrest across the country in the last one year, especially in the BJP-ruled states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh?
There is no unrest among farmers across the country. The majority of protests or so-called unrest are incited or sponsored by the political parties with vested interests. Ahead of next year’s Parliament polls, Opposition parties are unsuccessfully inciting farmers to turn violent.
The Modi government has increased MSP by and one and half times and has also launched several initiatives like soil health card, crop insurance and others to double the farmers’ income. All the BJP ruled states are working hard in the direction of fulfilling the Prime Minister’s dream of doubling farmers’ income.
You said some political parties are inciting farmers. Who are they?
People are smart and they know everything. It was a known fact, those who were behind the violent protests in Madhya Pradesh last year. People will give a befitting reply to these political parties for disturbing the peace by rejecting them.
Is there any possibility of you moving towards the political centre from the state?
I am a small, dedicated soldier of the BJP. Whatever role the central leadership will decide, I will follow. The party asked me to serve the people in the state and I am doing it.