Launching a scathing attack on BJP turncoats, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the small-time leaders who ditched the saffron party are now struggling to secure seats.
In an exclusive interview with IANS, Adityanath touched upon several issues, including his 80-20 remark, the Samajwadi Party’s poll promises, Jinnah and Hijab rows, and forming the government in the state with 300-plus seats.
He claimed that the saffron party will win 80 per cent of the seats in the state Assembly polls. “We are fighting the poll on the planks of nationalism, development and good governance,” he told IANS.
“Those who have left the party are finding it difficult to secure a seat. If these people had a mass base, then they should have fought from their traditional seats, like I am contesting. All of them are leaving their seats and running,” the chief minister said.
On the charge that the Yogi government takes action against criminals on the basis of their caste, the chief minister, in a veiled attack on the Samajwadi Party, asked: “Who has given tickets to professional criminals in Kairana, Rampur and Mau?”
Yogi claimed that SP is no longer Samajwadi, but it has become ‘mafiawadi’, ‘dangawadi’ and ‘parivaarwadi’ (the party which supports the mafia, riots and dynastic politics).
On SP promising free ration for five years, the chief minister told IANS: “Uttar Pradesh has not forgotten the misgovernance of SP. A food scam occurred during SP’s regime. At that time, rations meant for the poor were usurped by SP’s goons. When they could not distribute regular ration, how would they distribute it for free? People have seen SP’s work and its adventures. Now, nobody will be influenced by them.”
On SP promising money for the development of temples and maths, the chief minister said: “Saints of Ayodhya, people of the nation and ‘Ram bhakts’ (Ram devotees) have not forgotten the time when the SP regime ordered police firing on Kar Sevaks.
“The truth is that their party’s name is Samajwadi, but they are ‘dangawadi’ (provoking riots) and their mentality is ‘parivarwadi’ (dynastic). They don’t have holistic and inclusive thinking, so development, good governance and establishing the rule of law are like a daydream for them.”
When asked that opposition parties are teaming up to defeat the BJP, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is also supporting them, Adityanath said that in 2019, the SP, BSP ansd RLD stitched an alliance but at that time too, the saffron party won 80 per cent seats. This time the alliance is not that big and people have also seen the work of the double engine government.”
When asked that though the BJP talks about ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’ (inclusive growth for all), it has not given a ticket to any Muslim, the chief minister said that elections are based on the support and trust of people.
“Those who apply for a ticket are reviewed at the district and region levels and then their names are recommended to the high command. Those who are able to earn public trust are given tickets,” he pointed out.
When IANS asked him pointedly whether the BJP will get Muslim votes this time, the chief minister said: “The Prime Minister has played a major role in helping Muslim women get rid of malpractices such as triple talaq. Benefits of all welfare schemes under which gas connections are provided, PM Awaas Yojana and doubling rations are being extended to Muslim families too.
“Rising above caste and religion, people have voted for the BJP in the first two phases of the polls. The trend is continuing. At a few places, fanatics are trying to stop Muslim women from casting votes. The Election Commission should take cognisance of the matter.”
On the performance of SP, BSP and the Congress in the polls, the chief minister exuded confidence that the BJP will win 80 per cent of the seats, while the three opposition parties are engaged in a triangular contest for 20 per cent of the votes.
On the stray cattle nuisance, the chief minister pointed out that “5,500 cow shelters have been opened in the state”.
He added: “Stray cattle increased in the state as they give less milk. We are working on improving the breeds. In organic farming, cattle play an important role. The double-engine government will solve the problem. We will not let cattle go to slaughter houses and at the same time will not let stray cows harm what the farmers produce.”
On the Jinnah and Hijab rows gathering momentum just prior to elections, the chief minister said during his conversation with IANS that to divert people’s attention from good governance and development, SP made a ‘sick’ effort to honour Jinnah on the birth anniversary of the Iron Man Sardar Patel.
“It is an insult to the freedom fighters of the country,” the chief minister told IANS. “When we were discussing welfare schemes to be extended to the sugarcane farmers of the state, SP was busy glorifying Jinnah. When we were talking about rural development, they were talking about Pakistan. SP is making futile attempts to rake up such issues and divert people’s attention from the main issues, which are development and good governance.”
On the restoration of old-age pension, the chief minister said the new pension scheme has been introduced during SP’s tenure. In the eight years they spent ruling the state, they treated government employees unjustly. They did not submit the employees’ contribution and even did not open their accounts.
On the issue of power shortages, the chief minister recalled how their genesis could be dated back to the SP-led government. “It was in their regime that there was a power shortage and now they are promising people 300 free units,” the chief minister said. “People will not get influenced by them.”
He added: “Government employees know they got an opportunity to work with a government that’s transparent. Even during the Corona pandemic, their dearness allowance and transport allowance were not deducted. The employees are with the BJP.”
When asked if there’s anything for the middle class, the chief minister said: “Our strategy for the next five years is ready. We will provide free electricity by installing a solar panel on each tubewell. Common consumers are getting electricity at slashed rates.”
When it was pointed out that the people are not angry with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, but with the public representatives of the party, the chief minister said: “Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, we have taken several important steps. In Uttar Pradesh, everyone is getting security and the benefits of development schemes, but we don’t believe in an appeasement policy.”
He added: “The government’s intentions are clear. The people have admired the government’s work. Public representatives who have done good work in their areas are getting people’s love, and those who could not live up to the expectations of common folk face their wrath.
“But the elections are being conducted to elect a government. In such circumstances, every seat is important and the BJP will get people’s love.”
On the ’80 versus 20′ remark, the chief minister said those who think positively, are nationalists and support welfare schemes come in the 80 per cent bracket, while those who like mafia rule, crime, anarchy and corruption come in the 20 per cent. He reiterated that the BJP is getting 80 per cent of the votes.
Replying to another question, he said the BJP was getting 80 per cent of the seats in the first two phases. People’s excitement shows that the BJP is getting their blessings. When the results are announced on March 10, the party will bag more than 300 seats.
The chief minister said that people are happy with the work done in the state relating to security, law and order, development, good governance, and public welfare schemes, and the unprecedented work in the field of respect for faith.