UTTAR Pradesh BJP chief Shri Lakshmikant Bajpai is optimistic that the BJP would gain majority of the Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in coming general elections. Organiser representative Dr Shakti Kumar Pandey spoke to him in the middle of the party’s state executive meeting going on at Chitrakoot Dham. Excerpts:
What are the key issues in the state today?
Corruption, Muslim appeasement, growing crime graph, frequent riots and price rise are nagging the people. We will go the people and tell them that BJP is the only option, if we want to save the state from anarchy witnessed in the two regimes of BSP and SP.
BJP had risen to greater heights in UP during early nineties, but in recent assembly elections it witnessed a sharp decline. What do you think is the reason?
The only thing that I can say is – we could not retain people’s confidence. To some extent the success during nineties was due to contemporary situations and circumstances. We should have made strategies to maintain the flow, but we failed. I have no hesitation in accepting that we did fail.
As the state chief how do you plan to revive the past glory and the lost pride?
We have planned and we have started implementing these plans. We have already taken a leap forward and we are getting the success. The proof is – results of urban local bodies’ polls. We have got unprecedented success in membership drive. Seventeen lakh people became BJP’s members within a month, which suggests that people are being attracted towards the BJP. It has been for the first time since 1993 that we have successfully held the organisational polls, discontinuing with the tradition of nominating office-bearers. Thus our internal democracy has strengthened. Similarly, we have maintained discipline very strictly, rejecting all unnecessary pulls and pressures. All this makes our position very strong today. From polls point view we are in a dominating position in 32 Lok Sabha constituencies.
Will the re-entry of former chief minister Kalyan Singh make a difference in the situation?
Certainly, it is going to make difference. We have made the calculations. At least in five Lok Sabha constituencies the difference will be hundred percent. Twenty thousand votes will increase in seven LS constituencies. In rest of the constituencies there will be a difference of 2,000 to 10,000 votes varying area-wise. We feel that Shri Kalyan Singhji never deviated from BJP ideology even while he was away from us.
What has been your experience as the state chief of a national party?
I have experienced that if we maintain direct communication with the party workers, we gain their confidence and reciprocally their faith in the leadership grows. Today, the common BJP worker feels powerful as he is able to vent his grievance to me directly, and I find it convenient to solve the matters when the workers’ views reach me unhindered. Common workers are also happy because action is being taken against those indulging in indiscipline.
People have also been unhappy with the BJP because the party ignored its main promise of constructing Ram Mandir at the disputed site in Ayodhya. How do you think the party can handle this situation?
I went to Ayodhya and sought the blessings of saints and seers. I sought forgiveness from HANUMANJI as well. I have declared that BJP will support if the VHP begins the construction of Ram Mandir. After the judgment of High Court our stand has been vindicated. We feel more confident and morally strong today. The matter is still pending with the Supreme Court. If we get full majority in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, I am sure that the BJP will fulfill its promise and get the grand Ram Mandir constructed.
Reservation in promotion had been nullified by the Supreme Court. Still the BJP was in its favour, which resulted into UP government employees’ protests against BJP too. How do you think the BJP can overcome this situation?
See, BSP and SP are the regional parties, they have only divided the society on caste lines. They have no national agenda. They are both supporting the union government for their own vested interests. Why didn’t the Samajvadi Party withdraw support if it was really serious over the issue of reservation in promotion? No, it cannot. It is just befooling the employees. In fact the SP workers had infiltrated amongst the employees during the agitation, and these SP workers were throwing stones at our party office. Why does the Samajvadi Party want reservation for Muslims? If the reservation in promotion is wrong, how can they justify the reservation on religious lines? We need holistic thinking on the matter. Our support to reservation in promotion is conditional. We have said about testing the employee capability, we have said about the limit of 22% only, we have demanded that it cannot be implemented retrospectively. We have also said that we will not accept the principle of consequential seniority. We have demanded the removal of creamy layer. We have also demanded that the matter be referred to the full bench of the Supreme Court. It is not simple acceptance of reservation in promotion.