Ashok Gehlot made Congress weaker to become stronger: Raj BJP president

With the Congress still embroiled in infighting while also being indecisive, the BJP in Rajasthan has already started making hectic preparations for next year’s Assembly polls in an effort to bring all the 25 Lok Sabha seats into its fold.

The BJP will soon commence connecting with the people to bring a public manifesto and is also accommodating a plan of action to check migration, boost economy and employment rate and strengthen the party at each booth.

Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia remains confident after getting a pat on his back from the Central leadership who termed him as one of the best state party chiefs of the country.

In fact, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal called him the “rising sun” during a working committee meeting in Jhunjhunu.

IANS spoke to him exclusively to find out his working strategy which is drawing laurels from all cadres.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

Q. The Congress is completing four years of its tenure next month, how do you see its working?

A. Even a blind man making a political analysis on Rajasthan can see anarchy, crime and unemployment. Reports of the plight of farmers and unemployed youth are not a secret anymore. Lawlessness and the law and order situation have made the public lose its trust in the Congress-led government

Rajasthan had never seen crime against women, but now there are 17 rapes a day, live murders on roads… The health machinery is also crumbling. Schools and colleges have started, but no faculty in schools.

In this way, we will not give even 33 marks to Congress.

Q. Will the BJP benefit out of the infighting in Congress?

A. We have seen the Congress leadership going weaker in the last four years which were rife with fighting and factions within the party. The Chief Minister has in fact, made the party weaker in an attempt to become stronger.

However, we are doing our homework on our comeback based on the people’s perception of good governance, anti-incumbancy against the ruling government and on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name and work.

The Prime Minister’s politics of performance is being discussed all around, 77,000 farmers are getting funds under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, 66 lakh women benefiting under the Ujjwala Yojana and 17 lakh people in Rajasthan have received Awas Yojana benefits.

So policies have been implemented on the ground level which will make us win.

However, infighting in the Congress will also be a reason for its defeat and our win as when the enemy is weak, there are more chances of winning.

Gehlot is strong but the Congress has gone weaker because of him.

Q. What about fissures in the BJP in Rajasthan?

A. We are working as one party with a strong leadership. We can have ‘matbhed’ (difference in opinion), but not ‘manbhed’ (difference in discord). We work as one entity under a strong leadership. Our high command is strong and has spread positivity among workers unlike the Congress.

They (Congress) have not decided their Chief Minister face in Rajasthan despite giving statements and dates, but the BJP has changed four in four months. When the party leadership is strong, the state leadership follows it. We are not seeing exchange of statements, letters, attacks within the party in the Assembly. So discussions on such fissures are without any base.

Q. What plan of action you are taking for the 2023 Assembly polls ?

A. We will soon start the process of making our manifesto after seeking public opinion. The process will start next year after our ‘janakrosh’ rallies which will commence in each constituency to highlight failures of the government as it will complete four years of its governance in the state.

Going forward, we are well aware that Rajasthan is a state of opportunity. Hence we will study avenues to build on opportunities in tourism, animal husbandry, mines and minerals, industries, so that people don’t migrate from the state to search for jobs.

No justice has been done to these segments as the incumbent state government failed to make any plan to help people gain newer avenues.

We are working to promote innovation in agriculture. Rural infrastructure needs to be strengthened further. Illegal mining needs to be banned. We will also emphasise on improving law and order as investment and happiness will follow when there is peace.

Gujarat has industries because there are proper facilities and law and order. Rajasthan policing needs a reform in resources and innovation and should study the Uttar Pradesh model to check crimes.

Q. What is the progress of the Panna Pramukh Model in Rajasthan which is a repeat of the Gujarat model?

A. We are initially working on the basic unit of the Panna Pramukh Model and hence have already touched on 48,000 booths out of 52,000. This is the first time we have touched these many booths.

Each booth has a president and its working committee has 21 members. Seventy-eighty per cent work is complete in this context and next will come on Panna Pramukh Model.

Q. You got a pat on your back by the Central leadership. How are you feeling?

A. Appreciation for your work motivates you. I am a humble worker of the party coming from a humble background. Delhi has seen me working during Covid times and have been standing with the organisation as a dedicated soldier. I am committed to the party and serving all tasks whatever it is giving me with honesty.

Q. Do you think your tenure will be extended after it comes to an end next October?

A. This is the party’s call. I am a humble worker and I am focusing on my work. The arty will decide what I have to do. Will do it honestly whatever it says. I’m doing the best to enhance the reach and strength of the party. I’m only state president to go to tribals 22 times in Rajasthan. I also dedicated this birthday to girl children and have got over 80,000 accounts opened under the PM Sukanya Yojana.

I am working with one mission, ’23 mein Rajasthan, 24 mean 25 seats ka sthan’.

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