Elections are a means to provide service to the people, and not an end in itself for the BJP, said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday on the party’s preparation ahead of the legislative elections slated for 2022.
In an exclusive interview to News18 India managing editor Amish Devgan, Adityanath said that “every day was an election day for the government, along with being a day to serve the people".
On the newly unveiled population policy, the CM said: “every state has to design policies for its future. The United Nations had designated 16 tasks for sustainable development on poverty alleviation, environment preservation, etc. UP had held a record 36-hour debate on the issue, as well."
“It was found out that the state was behind the national average in many aspects, and thus the population policy was launched. The government is also focused on awareness," he said.
On being asked whether any particular community is being targeted through the population policy, Adityanath said every issue should not be looked through the lens of politics, and that the aim was to elevate the quality of life of the public, and better women’s health.
Other political parties want to keep the public poor and create vote banks, the UP CM said, defending the policy amid opposition backlash.
On being asked what the the BJP’s agenda would be for the 2022 polls, Adityanath said: “One thing is clear. BJP will come to power with full strength."
“The public now feels safer; the law and order situation in the state is much better now. There was a time when riots were commonplace. Now it’s been four years of this current government in place, and there has been no riot," he said.
On a possible alliance between the Samajwadi Party and AAP, the CM said every political party had the right to make alliances. When asked whether the BJP was concerned whether AAP would offer ‘free electricity’ in the state, Adityanath said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lakhs of households had been provided with free power since the government came to power.
Commenting further on the Aam Aadmi Party, Adityanath said that Uttar Pradesh being a party of the NCR region had helped people get hospital beds and oxygen amid the devastating second of covid in the capital.
On the recent statement by AIMIM’s Assaddun Owaisi that BJP would not come to power in 2022, Adityanath said Owaisi was a big leader, and it would only be clear how much the public liked him, through time. “If you think you can polarise a part of the population, then the other half is also observing things."
Responding to the bumper victory of the BJP in the block chief and district panchayat elections, CM Yogi said, “There is no such situation which could be termed as overconfidence. In 2017, BJP won the assembly elections in UP with its allies. In 2019, BJP also defeated the SP-BSP alliance. Although political analysts were not giving us more than 25 Lok Sabha seats, but we bagged 65 seats.”
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, when asked who the BJP saw as its direct competition for the upcoming polls, said the BJP was in competition with itself. “We will aim for better seats than our previous performance. Anyone who likes progress will prefer us".
On religious conversion and the opposition to the government’s ‘love jihad’ law, he said that the question was not just about religion but that such ‘illegal incidents’ were also a threat to national security.
On Kanwar Yatra amid Covid-19, the UP CM said that every life is important. “Every life is important. It’s an epidemic, it doesn’t see caste and religion. We need to keep all vigil. We are not going to impose a ban on Kanwar yatra but will ensure full implementation of covid protocol."
“We will initiate dialogue with Kanwar sanghs and ensure things are carried out in a controlled manner. The Yatra is not only between UP and Uttarakhand, it happens in other parts, as well," he said.
On the farmers’ protest and Rakesh Tikait’s statement on visiting UP regions, CM Adityanath said: “conversation is the step towards resolution and the Indian government had adopted all steps towards it. But when farmers are not the agenda, and we try to target the government through them, with foreign funds, then such a situation is created."
“I think farmer organisations should convene with the government and accept what is being offered; amid the myriad schemes and policies ongoing for farmers’ benefits, the system should not be hindered for ‘mere stubbornness’," he said.
With inputs from Qazi Faraz Ahmad