On July 13, when Rajasthan’s new State BJP president Arun Chaturvedi, took over the office, almost all the former State party presidents and other senior leaders of the party were present. This was the indication that this 49 year young lawyer enjoys the support and blessings from every section of the party. Belonging to a family of ardent RSS, Chaturvedi himself was active in Sangh, before plunging into politics. During the assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections, when most of the party leaders were busy in campaigning, mild mannered and soft spoken Chaturvedi was coordinating the election campaign at the State party headquarters and also regularly feeding the media about the latest on election scenario. Here are the excerpts from an interview taken by Organiser representative Lokpal Sethi, soon after Shri Chaturvedi took over as State party president.
What are your immediate priorities ?
To build up the organisation, which was not being taken proper care of for the past seven to eight months because of elections. Ours is a cadre based party and its grass root workers are its backbone. Unfortunately, a considerable number of them were feeling ignored for one or the other reason. With much below performance of the party from the expectations in the two elections, the moral of party workers and its functionaries in the districts, had started sagging. My efforts would be to renew their vigour and to prepare them for the political challenges, which party has to face in near future by way of elections to the municipal bodies and Panchayats, which are due in the next six months.
How would you do that?
I have planned to undertake an extensive tour of the State to meet the party cadre to know their feelings and also to inquire why many of them are not active. Instead of calling them to Jaipur, I would go to their places, to remove their pile-up feelings that they were being ignored. In the past, party used to follow a system to have regular meetings of party cadres, its functionaries in their respective areas. These meetings used to serve as bridge between party workers and leadership. This practice used to provide valuable feedback to the senior party leaders. For unknown reasons, this practice was discontinued.
You were part of the team which analysed the reasons for party’s poor showing in the two elections. What is your conclusion? Was it a collective failure of the leadership?
One thing is clear no single leader should be made responsible for party’s poor performance. Since most of the decisions, including selection of candidates, were taken collectively, blaming one person is not right. We have identified the reasons but would not like to share them with media as it is an internal assessment of the party. But one thing I would like to share with media that the period of sagging moral of the party cadre is over and party is preparing itself to meet the political challenges ahead. We are making it sure that mistakes committed in the last two elections would not be repeated this time
There was some opposition to your making the State party president. Opponents said you have not contested any election, your political stature is not very big and you have been made party president, merely because RSS wanted it ?
Contesting election is not the pre-qualification to become the party president. I might not have contested the elections, but I was actively involved in the past several elections. Moreover, primary objective of the State party president is to build up the organisation and not to contest the elections. In the past I had held many important positions, but I used them to build the organisation and would continue to do. As for as my RSS connections are concerned I am proud of being a RSS swayamsevak, as this is the only organisation, which is solely devoted to make a disciplined man devoted to the national cause. Like me there are a large number of party workers, who have active association with the RSS. Being an active RSS man is not a disqualification to join to BJP. Party workers with RSS background are an asset to the party.
Now leaders of different political parties are favouring to infuse young blood in their respective parties as being done in Congress by Rahul Gandhi. What would be your approach on this?
While making me the State party president at the relatively young age, central party leadership has already given a message that it wants to groom younger leadership. So it was obvious for me to encourage the younger elements by giving them more responsibilities. But this doesn’t mean that senior leaders would be ignored. Since they have the experience, whenever young people like me needs some advice, we would go to them to seek their guidance and advise. The younger leadership would carry forward the task of the senior leaders, which they started years back, when they were young.
Despite repeated denials, facts remains that the BJP is no more a disciplined party, which it used to be till few years back. There is groupism in it. How you would tackle this problem?
I do not agree that BJP is no more a disciplined party. If you compare with other political parties, we are still committed to maintain discipline in the party. As far as groupism is concerned, this is more of creation of media than the reality. Non the less, I would leave no stone unturned to bring complete discipline in the party and at the same time I would ensure that all the senior party leaders are involved in the decision making process of the party and non should feel ignored.