Interview | National

BJP's major plank in Delhi polls is Narendra Modi’s governance record: Prakash Javadekar

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.   | Photo Credit: Kamal Narang

Delhi voted for clean politics, and now AAP and its legislators have been spoken of as involved in corruption: Union Minister

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar is also the BJP’s poll in charge for Delhi. He speaks on the campaign, its tonality and the anti-CAA protests that were also a theme running through the polls…..

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had a strong campaign theme of work done, how did you counter it?

Our major plank in these elections is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governance record and the development activity he has done. In contrast, in the last four and a half years Mr. Kejriwal was only blaming Prime Minister Modi — that he (Mr. Kejriwal) was not being allowed to work, his projects were being blocked etc. Now, the AAP’s campaign slogan says, “Acche Beetey Paanch Saal,” how is he saying that? More importantly, he failed Delhi. Delhi voted for clean politics, and now his party and its legislators have been spoken of as involved in corruption and this has damaged Delhi. People are disappointed and he (Mr. Kejriwal) has stopped all work. So much so that he hasn’t allowed the good schemes of the Centre to be implemented in the State — he has not allowed Ayushman Bharat or even the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi.

But the municipal corporations have a strong BJP presence and are responsible for much of the civic infrastructure. Do you still think the “no work” tag would stick?

Municipal corporations in Delhi were not allowed to work. The State government did not give nearly ₹10,000 crore that was due to the municipal corporations. Our corporators should have highlighted the fact that the Kejriwal government was obstructing funds and works by the municipal corporations. It wasn’t highlighted earlier, we highlighted in the campaign.

Also read | Delhi Assembly election: BJP has no discourse, but desperate for a win, says Arvind Kejriwal

The BJP however took a conscious decision in the last few days to go hyper local and go in for small meetings rather than a big blitzkrieg of rallies etc? Were you compensating for the fact that you don’t have a chief ministerial face to project?

In many States in the past we have not declared a chief ministerial candidate. All parties sometimes declare, sometimes they don’t. We decided to do an intensive door-to-door, street-to-street campaign because this booth-wise campaigning is our strength as a party. We felt there was a gap in terms of door-to-door campaigning which we made up in the last few days.

But the one point where the AAP campaign has struck a chord is the question “Kejriwal Vs Who?” Could a face being projected have helped?

If you look at other parties, even Congress, it too hasn’t projected chief ministerial candidates in previous polls. We ourselves, in 2014, did not project anyone in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana. We came to power and subsequently Devendra Fadnavis, Raghubar Das and Manohar Lal Khattar were made chief ministers, and in 2019 we had declared them as chief ministerial faces, still we lost Jharkhand. So these things are election-specific and are different in different circumstances, there is no formula.

BJP leaders have said that they will continue with the subsidy provided for power and water. Will that promise be adhered to, if you are voted to power?

Government is a continuous process and there is no reason why water and power subsidies will not continue. For example, ration cards have continued whichever is the government, there is no need to emphasise that.

 

The tone of the campaign has been very shrill and has seen many of your star campaigners being banned from campaigning by the Election Commission. Was this strictly necessary?

It happens in the heat of poll campaigns that some people can make certain statements.

You yourself termed Chief Minister Kejriwal a terrorist.

That’s not strictly true. I merely pointed out that Mr. Kejriwal has himself confessed he is an anarchist. All I said was that there was very little difference between an anarchist and terrorist.

The BJP raised the issue of Shaheen Bagh in a big way and also frame it as something that is not keeping with the Constitution?

It (Shaheen Bagh protests) is a live issue not only because traffic is disturbed, but also because the people of Delhi have seen, over the many years, the plight of refugees from across the border, how they had been treated. If you see some of the anarchist slogans being raised in Shaheen Bagh, it is unacceptable. For example, how can anyone accept the kind of speech and slogans that Sharjeel Islam has spoken. We (Union government) haven’t disturbed the dharna, and have handled it in a calm and peaceful manner. What the Prime Minister Modi said, that the protest is a “prayog” (experiment), is absolutely correct, because the idea of those behind the protests is to spread this across the country.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 12:22:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/our-major-plank-in-delhi-polls-is-modis-governance-record-prakash-javadekar/article30754276.ece

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