Former Union Minister of Power in the NDA government Smt Jayawanti-ben Mehta has a down-to-earth demeanour. Her political career has witnessed several ups and downs. It was her clarity of thought, oratory and the sheer grit needed in today'spolitical arena that everyone would get enamoured of. When Organiser correspondent Anil Nair met up with her at her Worli residence to talk about BJP'spast and future she promised to write a signed article for us. We are carrying the same along with this interview:
Being a Gujarati MP in Mumbai how do you compare the state government of Maharashtra with that of Gujarat?
The Maharashtra government can hardly be compared with Narendra Modi'sgovernment. He has managed to attract over Rs 52,000-crore investments in the annual business festival last year. This year I heard the investments will be even higher. What has the Maharashtra government done to attract investments? The pace of development in Gujarat is stunning. Last time I visited Gujarat I could even see a palpable reduction in corruption. The whole state seems to be in a frenzy, economic progress seems to be the priority number one for the political class, the bureaucracy and the people. The 1,400-km water tunnel has completely changed the landscape of Gujarat. Today it is much greener and richer in flora. See the escalation in the number of school-going girls in Gujarat. Shri Modi proved that he is a man with a mission and nothing can stop him. Now compare that with the performance of the Maharashtra government. It could not even turn the Pravasi Diwas to its advantage. I thought it would successfully convert Pravasi Diwas into an economic event where PIOs get the opportunity to bring in their expertise and investments for the benefit of this country.
What do you think is the biggest achievement of BJP?
It is difficult to talk about the singular most important achievement of BJP. There are so many which have brought about tectonic changes in Indian social and economic fields. But I am happy that the successful coalition politics started by BJP has now become instructive for other political parties. We set a successful trend.
What do you think is the reason for BJP'sfailure in the last general elections?
See, people who work hard may not always win. I have worked tirelessly, just as Ram Naik or any other BJP functionary. Manohar Joshi managed to get Rs 500-crore central assistance for Dharavi yet he lost. There are a number of factors for our failure and we will look into each of them so that we do not commit the same mistake during the next election.
Do you think the UPA government has served the aam aadmi as promised during the elections?
I will give you the latest examples of how the UPA government has given the aam aadmi a short shrift. Inflation has gone through the roof. Retail prices have zoomed up. And in the midst of all this was the decision on VAT. Why couldn'tthe government take the traders into confidence? Then look at the Patents Bill which was passed when the Left turned a nelson'seye. Now the Left is not even protesting, so much for the aam aadmi.