It is now almost a year since you came to Delhi as BJP’s national general secretary. What is your experience?
I am enjoying the new responsibility. I am grateful to the Party to have given me this opportunity. To work for the party is the most important and valuable contribution a worker can make.
Quitting the office of Cabinet Minister in Himachal to take up an organisational responsibility was a big decision. Normally, politicians do not prefer an organisational job over a ministerial post. Did it present a predicament for you?
I am not the one who thinks that the only way to serve the people and the party is by becoming a minister. I have come by choice. For me, organisation is supreme. I feel to run a good government and provide good governance, organisational strength of the party is of great importance. The Party is there to realise the dreams of the people. If we strengthen the Party, we simultaneously strengthen the government.
Which of the two jobs – a minister or a general secretary – do you enjoy the most?
For me, serving the organisation is better than holding the office of a minister. It is more a priority to make the party stronger than enjoying the fruits of power. Every action taken in the organisation is a positive step and has a national impact.
Does your moving over to Delhi mean that you have now shifted to the politics at the Centre?
I volunteered to come to the Centre. I would like to concentrate in the organisation. For good governance, you need a good, strong party and organisational support. Organisational work is more a priority for me. Left to me, I would like to continue at the Centre.
You continue to be an MLA in Himachal Assembly. Will you seek re-election when elections are held next year?
I would like to concentrate on organisational work in the Party. I have told Chief Minister Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal also that I wish to widen the field of my work by working for the organsation. In my assembly constituency I have achieved the optimum. 99 per cent of my villages in the constituency have been connected with roads. Civil dispensaries and veterinary dispensaries are dotted all over. Primary, middle and senior secondary schools are there in plenty. There will be no drinking water problem for the next 25 years. People are happy and contented.
Is BJP returning to power in next year’s elections?
BJP is bound to return to power once again. Yet, complacency should not overwhelm us. Lot of development has taken place. People appreciate the work that has been done by the Dhumal government at a much faster pace despite many handicaps. We have to be careful of the dirty tricks of the Congress Party.
What about the anti-incumbency?
If there is any anti-incumbency, it is not against the government but against certain individuals and that too to a very little extent. We are going to overcome it by evaluating the performance of the sitting MLAs, their commitment to core ideology, their rapport with the people and winnability. As a result some changes could take place.
There is infighting in the main opposition Congress. But, at times, there are reports of dissidence in BJP also. What do you say?
The dissidence and infighting in the Congress is very evident, very prominent. Strong posturing has been visible on various occasions. On the other hand, BJP is a party with a functioning internal democracy. We have given our workers the freedom to vent their views. We want to encourage a healthy discussion on issues and problems facing the government and the organisation. The free expression of opinion should not be construed as dissidence or infighting. Yet, if Lakshman Rekha is crossed, party does take a very strict action.
Is HP getting due share of help and assistance from the Centre?
Frankly speaking, for political and electoral reasons the intention of UPA is not to help the State. But it goes to the credit of Dhumal government that through statecraft, administrative skill with proper home work and personal rapport at the Centre, we have been able to get much from the Centre. Yet, the problems remain.
How do you rate the performance of UPA-II?
Worst and the most corrupt government. Non-performance, inefficiency and lack of accountability are at its peak. Internal security is threatened. UPA utterly failed to meet the terror threat with an iron hand. Price rise and inflation have made the life of the aam aadmi miserable. Anarchy, poverty, and unemployment among youth reign supreme. UPA has only aggravated the people’s problems and misery.
What changes do you perceive Shri Nitin Gadkari has brought about in the BJP during the last 18 months as president?
Shri Gadkari has infused a new outlook, injected a new enthusiasm among youth and women. The spirit of antyodaya and good governance has been made the hallmark of the organisation and government. More initiatives have been taken with a commitment for change. He has involved every party leader and karyakarta. He is result-oriented and wants concrete results, not just khana-poorti. Activities of the party have multiplied and expanded to new areas. He monitors the functioning of the party and of governments in States from close quarters. BJP is now brimming with new enthusiasm and confidence.