BJP will return to power in Rajasthan: Javadekar

Union Human Resource Development Minister and Rajasthan state election in-charge Prakash Javadekar during the inauguration of 'Mahasamparak Abhiyan' from Kanwar Nagar area, in Jaipur, on November 2, 2018. PTI

As the countdown to ticket distribution begins, Union cabinet minister and Bharatiya Janata Party's election in-charge for Rajasthan, Prakash Javadekar, in an interview to DH's Tabeenah Anjum, exuded confidence that BJP will change the perception of anti-incumbency and return to power in the state, though the exit polls show the ruling party on the losing side. Excerpts:

Your experience as an election in-charge for Rajasthan? Things you had to fix after taking responsibility?

It has been almost one month since I came to Rajasthan and one big problem I noticed was the disconnect with the masses and within the party. MLAs did not convey to people what they have been doing. But now the gap has been bridged and we are winning hands down not only in Rajasthan but in all three states as well. We have coined a slogan "Na baaton se, kaamon se, bhajpa phir se". We have some popular yojanas like Bhamasha free medicines and Rajshiri yojana, which have been implemented across the state.
 
So what sense are you getting about BJP's prospects in Rajasthan in 2018 assembly polls?

We will return to power. In the past four years, BJP's graph has risen when it comes to retaining a state. In 2014, BJP had only 6 states and Congress had 14 under their control. Now, BJP has 19 and Congress is down to 4. People of India have made up their mind and want a change. Just as people want Modiji to return, similarly, here in Rajasthan, people want Vasundhara Ji to return because people are disenchanted with Congress. Congress has turned into a party on the fringe. Earlier, they empowered EC but now they are criticising. Similarly, they are opposing Aadhaar and GST even though they were the ones to bring it. Congress has become irrelevant. 


READ: 'Congress is yet to declare its chief ministerial candidate'


 

In the past five years, Rajasthan has witnessed a series of mob lynchings and the crime rate has gone up. Will it polarise the voters?

Lynching is bad and must be tackled. Many states have suffered from it. Our government in Rajasthan has immediately acted in such cases.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has said that BJP will sweep 180 seats but the response to her Gaurav Yatra was poor?

Yes, she is our chief minister face. The protests were staged and organised by Congress. In fact, Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot do not see eye to eye but they managed the protests. She spoke to everyone during her yatra. 

What is your strategy to finalise tickets? Like in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, will you be dropping sitting MLAs?

Winnability of a candidate will be the top criteria before finalising the list. Our party's strength lies in workers. Booth is the new strategy. Every leader is strengthening the booth. We will be dropping a few MLAs here as well. But as of now, I can't tell the numbers. 

Will there be more youth and women candidates this time? How are you balancing the caste equation?

Again winnability will matter and candidates should have worked in their constituency. As far as the caste equation is concerned, we are taking it into consideration. But we will not play caste politics as Congress does.

Last time the BJP gave tickets to four Muslim candidates. This time will there be more?

It's too early to say. 


READ: Rajasthan polls: Javadekar has lunch in slum


Communities like Jats, farmers, Rajputs, Gujjars are unhappy with BJP. Will it affect in the polls?

A few factors were there but none was created by the state government. But our government had a dialogue with disgruntled communities and now everything is peaceful. 

How do you see the Opposition Congress? Who do you think among the two — Sachin Pilot or Ashok Gehlot — should be projected as CM candidate?

The Congress is a confused party. Rahul Gandhi wants to project Sachin Pilot as the chief minister candidate. But he does not have the guts to do so and is not ready to face the consequences. 

How many seats do you think the BJP will manage to win in the upcoming polls?

We will get an absolute majority. It will be a comfortable win.

 

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BJP will return to power in Rajasthan: Javadekar

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