NEW YORK (TIP): The Bharatiya Janata Party President Rajnath Singh on Saturday, July 20, categorically denied that he is in the race for Prime Minister of India if BJP returns to power at the Center. “I am more interested in getting the BJP back into power in Center and packing off the corruption-ridden bad governance of the Congress in my tenure as President of the party,” he said addressing a news conference of Indian-American media at Hotel Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan.
On the question of party president not being projected as Prime Ministerial candidate in the Lok Sabha elections, he said it is not necessary that the two positions be placed in the hands of one person. “It’s not necessary that party president should also be a crowd puller and a prime ministerial candidate. I have an assignment to do for my party. I have a job to deliver – that is victory of the party in the 2014 elections.”
“Seven months before the elections, I have nominated Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as chairman of the party campaign committee. What is unusual in that? We have nominated Modi like other parties do and why read between lines. I have named him as campaign head in view of his image, popularity and commitment to the party,” he said. He said Modi is certainly the most popular and the tallest leader of India.
He is a crowd puller not only in Gujarat but also in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – from North to South, East to West. He is one single leader with a national appeal. His popularity will help the party in the elections. On the issue of visa rejection issue of Narendra Modi, he said he would take up the issue with the US lawmakers in Washington.
“I will appeal to the US government to clear the US visa to the Gujarat Chief Minister.” People of India have now realized that BJP is the only solution after comparing the performance-oriented BJP led NDA Government and corruption-ridden inefficient Congress UPA dispensation, he said. The performances of several BJP-ruled states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh are there for the people to see and if these states can provide 24 hour power supply, clean and efficient government, fillip to industries compared to poor performance of many Congressruled State governments what would people prefer? People have made up their mind, he said.
Detailing steps taken by the BJP to face the national elections in 2014, he said the party had brought changes in organizational level by forming polling booth committees in every booth. “We have formed a committee consisting of 10 to 15 party men at grassroots level to strengthen the organization at village level,” he said Congress ruled for 10 long years at national level and what are their achievements other than wholesale corruption and compromise in national and international security, he asked.
Indian voters are now realized that when the Center can’t guarantee growth rate of five percent or less, the growth rate in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are approximately 10 percent. No one can fool Indian voters any more, he said. On the recent debacle of the party in Karnataka and setbacks in other states, the BJP President said assembly elections and municipal elections are different from parliament elections where people vote for a stable government.
Voters are intelligent enough to compare the two governments and Congress will be out of power soon. They have ruled for 10 long years and now its time to give them rest, he said “We are confident that the failure of the Congress government will help BJP return to power in the center. Any political party that aspires to come to power should give good governance and satisfy the needs of the people.
If they fail in this front, they will be out of power.” There is wholesale failure on economic front, compromise on internal and external security and diplomatic fronts as well. People are demanding a change very badly. If people want any change, the only choice is BJP who can provide an alternative to this government, he said. On allies deserting the party, he said BJP will try to get a clear majority in Lok Sabha polls but at the same time will not forget its allies – old and new.
“Despite a clear majority in sight, we want our allies to participate in the government at the center. Now we have Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal and may get some nearer to the elections. There is also a possibility of post poll alliance with like minded parties if there is a need,” he said. In the coming Lok Sabha elections, Congress will be routed in Andhra Pradesh due to its ambiguity on Telengana issue.
The BJP is the only national party that favors separate Telengana and it was passed as a resolution in our national executive committee meeting, he said. There is no ambiguity in the BJP unlike the Congress camp in the matter and BJP is in favor of Telengana. But it’s not in favor of bifurcation of UP and other states as Telengana issue is a totally different one. On the question of poll promises, he said BJP would rather go in for developmental debate than Ram Janma Bhoomi issue. “Ram temple was not a major poll issue anytime.
It was at best a national issue but not an election issue,” he added. BJP government will consider instituting an inquiry commission to go into the corruption and scandals of the Congress government and will provide transparent and honest government with people’s interest as uppermost, he said. Ananth Kumar, party general secretary and chairman of Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee who is accompanying Rajnath Singh on the US tour, said the four member BJP delegation will meet members of the US Senate and House Representatives from both sides of the aisle – Democratic Party and the Republicans especially members of the Congressional Caucus of Indians and Indian Americans at the Capitol Hill.
Ananth Kumar said Rajnath’s visit to the US is a two track outreach program – to outreach the Indian Diaspora to assess the mood of three million Indian-Americans across the nation who occupy important and powerful positions besides being opinion makers; and to meet with India Caucus Congressmen to impress on them that a change is sweeping in India on the heels of Lok Sabha elections.
The other two members of the delegation are Dr. Sudhanshu Trivedi, party spokesman and advisor to the BJP President and Vijay Jolly, BJP national convener for Overseas Affairs and a former Delhi MLA. Jolly said the visit was to re-connect the Party President with the Indian-American Diaspora that plays a leading role in fostering friendship between the two countries. “We want to work closely with Non Resident Indians.” BJP – both as a government and party – will work with mainstream American and Indian-American business community on economic and investment matters.
clearly is of the view that India and the US have a close correlation in internal and external security and they are strategic partners being natural allies, he said. Jolly said the Overseas Friends of BJP in the US has over 7000 members across the US and project a positive image of the party among Indian-Americans and policy makers. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the party will address the concerns of Indian Diaspora and include in them in the BJP parivar by assigning a major role in the ensuing elections.
Rajnath Singh said it was NDA government under Vajpayee that gave voting rights to Non-Resident Indians and introduced Overseas Citizens Card (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card. It was under Vajpayee’s leadership that the first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was held in 2003 in New Delhi to bring all the Non- Resident and Diaspora Indians to work for the welfare of India. “All these were made possible due to the visionary leadership of Vajpayee and only the BJP has done a lot for NRIs and PIOs.”
On the spate of killing of Hindu and BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu, he said he would appeal to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to give protection to party leaders. “I appeal to Jayalalithaa to help stop the killing of Hindu and BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu. We will try to build pressure on state government so that it takes it seriously to put an end to such killings.”