‘Will go to people with track record of 10 years, agenda for 25 more’: Amit Shah

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Public TV English
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NEW DELHI: On the BJP’s target of ‘400 paar’ (beyond 400 seats) for the ruling NDA at the Centre in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said his party candidates will to the people on the basis of its proven track record over the last 10 years and the development agenda that it has set for the next 25 years.

Widely acknowledged as a shrewd poll strategist and one of the key architects of the party’s string of victories across states, Shah said he was ‘certain’ that the BJP will win more than 300 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will sail past the targeted benchmark of more than 400 seats.

“We (BJP) have a track record of 10 years to go to the people with, as well as the agenda for the next 25 years to build a grand and a ‘Viksit Bharat’ (developed India). The people have faith in our deliverance and are invested in our vision of development. It (400-paar) isn’t just poll rhetoric. You can for yourself on counting day. We (BJP) will sail past 300 and the NDA will cross 400”, Shah said during a conclave on Friday.

On striking up an alliance with Chandrababu Naidu’s Telegu Desam Party (TDP), a former NDA ally, in Andhra Pradesh, despite him making statements against Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier, the Union Home Minister said, in a lighter note, that Naidu possibly got back to his senses after losing the elections last time.

“We did not break ties with Chandrababu Naidu earlier. It was his decision not to be with the NDA. He called us hardcore terrorists, went to people seeking votes and lost the elections. He is back to his senses now. They (regional parties willing to join the NDA) are all welcome”, Shah said.

On why the BJP preferred the TDP over Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP, the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh, despite the fact that the party supported the ruling party at the Centre in pushing through key legislations in the Rajya Sabha, Shah said voting for a piece of legislation in Parliament does not necessarily translate into an electoral tie-up.

“The voting (for Bills) in the Rajya Sabha was issue-based and did not signal any political tie-ups. His (Jagan’s) party also voted against us on three occasions. Voting for a Bill or a resolution in Parliament is often not reflective or indicative of political alliances. They (Opposition parties) often vote on the basis of a convergence of ideas or a similar stand on an issue and the outcome of the legislation. I don’t think supporting or voting in favour of a Bill or issue should lead to a tie-up”, the Union Home Minister said.

On the possibility of an alliance between the BJP and the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha ahead of simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls in the state, Shah said, “I cannot speak much on this because our national president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have not yet taken a call on it. However, regardless of how things (aliance talks) go, the Bharatiya Janata Party will improve on its performance both in the Lok Sabha and the Assembly polls (in Odisha),” he added.

On the feasibility of tying up with the BJD, which is the BJP’s only political rival of note in Odisha, Shah said an alliance between two parties is worked out purely on the basis of poll arithmetic and an ideological connect. To a question whether two parties, which are held as numbers one and two in a state, can come together, and, if so, what was the philosophy behind it, Shah said, “We are into hard-core politics and there isn’t much room or scope for philosophy. We focus on two aspects (while deciding on an alliance) — winnability and a convergence of ideologies”.

On replacing Manohar Lal Khattar with Nayab Singh Saini as the chief minister of Haryana, in a surprising turn of events in the state just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Union Home Minister said, “PM Modi said Khattar-ji has been with our party for long and is a good leader. So he could be utilised either here (in Lok Sabha polls) or in Haryana”.

On breaking up with the ruling ally in the state, Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janta Party, Shah said there was no bad blood with the JJP and they split after failing to arrive at a common ground with regard to seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha polls.

“We do not have any bad blood with the JJP. We didn’t fight among ourselves. They had certain demands about the number of seats that they wanted to contest. However, we could not fulfil their wish considering our party’s strength and chances. Hence, we parted ways. It was merely a difference of opinion that saw us part. We did not badmouth each other”, Shah said.

On Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party (RLJP) president, Pashupati Kumar Paras, giving an ultimatum to the BJP to allot the desired Lok Sabha seats to his party members, Shah said that the NDA will reach an amicable solution in Bihar in a week.

“Everything will fall into place in a week. Everyone has the right to have their say in politics and place their demands based on their strength. When we sit together and hear each other out, both sides arrive at a compromise and reach an amicable solution. I have full faith that in Bihar, the NDA will continue to flourish. We will win all seats in Bihar,” the Union Home Minister said.

On the allegation that the BJP engineered a split in the Opposition coalition — Maha Vikas Aghadi — in Maharashtra, Shah said ‘putra-putri moh’ resulted in the split in the Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena and the BJP can’t be blamed for it.

“I don’t agree with the remarks that we broke the parties. We did not break any party. Kai sari partiyan apne putra-putri ke moh me tut gayin…main phir se doharata hoon ki NCP aur Shiv Sena, dono partiyan putra, putri moh mein tut gayin. (Many parties fell apart due to the thrust on promoting daughters and sons. I repeat NCP and Shiv Sena broke apart due to the thrust on promoting son and daughter),” Shah said.

He added that the BJP and its ruling allies in Maharashtra have worked out a seat-sharing agreement that will be out in a few days. Shah said Uddhav Thackeray wanted to make his son, Aaditya, the chief minister of Maharashtra, while former Union Minister Sharad Pawar wanted to make his daughter Supriya Sule the NCP chief.

“Uddhav-ji wanted to make Aaditya Thackeray chief minister. Many people left his party because they were not ready to accept Aaditya as their leader. People who were in the Shiv Sena since Balasaheb Thackeray’s time had to first accept Uddhav-ji and as their leader. Later, they were asked to accept Aditya as their leader as well. It was not acceptable for them. Sharad Pawar also wanted to make his daughter Supriya Sule the NCP leader (chief),” he said. “Those not ready to accept the change in status quo left the parties”, he added. (ANI)

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