With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s road show in Gujarat on March 12, the BJP has sounded the election bugle and the party’s top leadership is already touring the state. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel spoke to News18 about the upcoming state assembly elections and the pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to leave his home state.
Q: Like Punjab, the Congress has handed over its place to other regional political parties. But Gujarat is still a bipolar electoral state. What do you think will change in this election?
A: We have the idea of working for the last person in the queue and keeping the most backward and poor person in mind while making plans and helping them. We have ensured that they get maximum benefit from government schemes like old age and widow pension and ration. We are working hard to see if the beneficiaries have benefited. We have started an exercise where we are visiting homes to see what schemes can be implemented and to help people who are not aware of them.
Q: What is the biggest plan that could be a game changer in this Assembly election?
Answer: We have been in Gujarat for some time. The idea of green energy and zero carbon ratings is a big job, and being done. We have signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan for electric vehicles and batteries. We have signed another MoU worth Rs 5 lakh crore with Reliance for green energy. Our move towards green energy will ensure less reliance on petroleum.
Q: The Aam Aadmi Party is giving freebies, how will you change that in this election?
A: I can pay for free. See the budget of Rajasthan. After Kovid, the revenue deficit ratio has remained low. It should be equal to or less than 3%. However, the central government has relaxed 4.5% due to Kovid. Nevertheless, the government’s revenue deficit did not reach 2% and we did not remove the burden on the people by raising taxes. In non-BJP states, it has been 4.6%. This is a democratic system.
Q: There are BJP as well as AAP posters in Gujarat. How big is the challenge?
Answer: Any party including Aam Aadmi Party can contest in elections, but BJP works for 365 days. It works with the public every day. Corporation elections have given us good results. The BJP has won 41 of the 44 municipal seats in Gandhinagar. This is the first time the BJP has done well there. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s global approval rating is high. The kind of work he did during Kovid’s time is acclaimed worldwide. And the ‘officers’ of our party were always by the side of the people. They may not be with the people in their good times but in bad times only BJP has helped the people in Kovid.
Q: You are talking about the Gujarat model. This is the homeland of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and you are in the seat he held many years ago. How much pressure do you feel to perform well?
Answer: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is incomparable. ‘Narendra bhai ek hi hai’ (there is only one Narendra bhai). We have to work under his leadership and no one in the world can work like him. But we have respect for what Narendra Modi has done in the past. He must have had a lot of trouble getting started. It has been made easy for us.
Q: What do you think about the minorities in Gujarat?
A: We don’t work that way. We work for everyone. Policies have been made for everyone in the state, and no one will be spared if they are in the mood for it.
Q: In the last assembly elections, the Congress fought the BJP well. Is the competition still strong?
Answer: Before any assembly election, local body elections are held, and today, we are in power in all local district panchayats. I don’t think there is any challenge. The BJP organization and the government are working hand in hand to implement the grassroots plan.
Question: What is the target set for this assembly election?
Answer: There should be opposition. I am a positive person and I talk about winning and not defeating others. If someone goes to a team, he should get some dignity there. Which one of the parties today? It is the dignity of the BJP. It won’t go anywhere.
Q: Will you give more tickets to new faces?
A: In my party, even the Chief Minister cannot say that his ticket has been confirmed.
Q: Making the Bhagwat Gita part of the school curriculum and the government has admitted in the assembly session that the sea plane project is closed. What’s the matter?
Answer: I am also studying and will talk about Bhagavad Gita later. The Sea Plane project will not stop when we start it again, I assure you.
Q: Any suggestions from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to keep the Jamuna as clean as the Sabarmati Riverfront?
A: Prime Minister Modi has made the Sabarmati Riverfront a place that everyone can see and marvel at. The Chief Minister of Delhi can also see it.
Q: Were you disappointed with the cancellation of Defense Expo due to Covid-19?
Answer: Public health comes first and rest comes later.
Question: BJP will seek mandate for the sixth time in a row. Are you worried about anti-incumbency?
A: The BJP is coming back to power for what it has been doing and that is why it should be easy for us.
Read all the latest news, breaking news and IPL 2022 live updates here.