Uttar pradesh

U.P. Assembly election | Marginalised communities are still with BJP, says State Power Minister Shrikant Sharma

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, seen with then Union Power Minister, Piyush Goel, U.P. Power Minister, Shrikant Sharma and Deputy CM, Dinesh Sharma inaugurating several new projects in 2017. File

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, seen with then Union Power Minister, Piyush Goel, U.P. Power Minister, Shrikant Sharma and Deputy CM, Dinesh Sharma inaugurating several new projects in 2017. File

The Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal have tied up in western Uttar Pradesh, where you are contesting on BJP ticket. How do you view this challenge, especially in view of the resentment among farmers with regard to the farm laws movement?

Our most potent answer to all challenges remains our leadership — that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath — and the work that we have done as a government. The BJP fights on its leadership at the top, the workers who support us at all levels and the work that we do. Whatever the equations that are being sought to be fixed, our ideology, our commitment to that ideology, our leadership and cadre will prevail.

Many BJP supporters feel that if Prime Minister Modi had to anyway withdraw the three contentious farm laws, he could have done it earlier rather than wait for a year.

Prime Minister Modi had brought in the three farm laws to benefit farmers, but as he himself said, some farmers could not be persuaded. As far as I am concerned, he has said all that can be said on the subject.

You are Power Minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, and there have been complaints, especially in western Uttar Pradesh, that power tariffs are high for farmers, compared to Haryana and in Punjab.

In the last four years, we have not increased power tariffs by a single rupee, and unlike the previous Samajwadi Party [SP] government, we are providing power to all districts, not the chosen four districts that the SP used to. Under the SP, power tariffs were increased 61%, power was only provided for 18,000 tube wells, whereas under the BJP government we provide power to 50,000 tube wells per year. We have separated the domestic and agricultural grid in rural areas, and have cut tariffs for farmers by 50%. In Haryana and Punjab, power distribution companies are not in the red, unlike what we got in Uttar Pradesh, but we have given the maximum relief and facilities that we could and looked at the health of power companies too.

A major problem in Uttar Pradesh is said to be stray cattle that destroy crops etc, as the State government has battened down on sale of cattle.

It was our promise that unlicensed abattoirs would be shut down, and we have shut them down. For stray cattle, the local administration has been empowered to build goshalas for keeping them, and that is the policy in place.

Lately, we have seen an exodus of BJP leaders, especially of the non-Yadav OBC communities, towards the SP. How is the BJP going to deal with this?

Let me assure you that swathes of people of supported the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll, 2017 Assembly polls and the 2019 Lok Sabha poll are still very much with the BJP. These MLAs may have shifted allegiance, but marginalised communities that supported the BJP are still with us.


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Printable version | May 19, 2022 2:38:47 am | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/uttar-pradesh-assembly/up-assembly-election-marginalised-communities-are-still-with-bjp-says-state-power-minister-shrikant-sharma/article38307356.ece