BJP to expand its footprint in South India: C.T. Ravi (IANS Friday Interview)

National General Secretary of the BJP, C.T. Ravi, said that the party is working to expand its base in south India after successfully making its electoral presence felt in the rest the country.

In an exclusive interview with IANS, Ravi, who is also the party’s in-charge for Maharashtra, Goa and Tamil Nadu Ravi, said, “We are working to expand the party’s base in new areas, and now we are trying to make inroads in the southern states. We have already won in the Northeast, North and other parts of India.”

Ravi also said that Devendra Fadnavis accepted the party’s decision to join the Maharashtra government as Deputy Chief Minister.

The senior politician claimed that BJP will form the next government in Telangana as there is huge anti-incumbency against the TRS government.

“The Assembly elections in Telangana will be a fight between dynasty and democracy, casteism and nationalism and corruption and development,” Ravi said.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: During the recent national executive meeting of the BJP, a lot of emphasis was put on strengthening the party at the booth level. What are the plans?

A: We are continuously working on strengthening the party at the booth level and our leadership believes in the ‘booth jeeto, chunav jeeto’ mantra (win booths to win elections). Lots of discussions were held on this during the national executive, and many suggestions also came up.

Already a campaign is going on named ‘Booth Sashaktikaran Abhiyan’ (booth strengthening campaign) to strengthen the party at the booth level. Our senior leaders like Baijayant Panda, Dilip Ghosh, myself and others are part of it. We have identified around 74,000 weak booths across the country and work is going on to win these booths. It is a continuous process, and the BJP is working on it.

Q: There is a lot of talk about BJP’s ‘Mission South’ campaign…

A: There is nothing called ‘Mission South’… We are only working to expand the party in new areas and now we are trying to make inroads in the southern states. We have already won in the Northeast, North and other parts of India.

It is also not true that we have no presence in south India. We have a government in Karnataka, we have MLAs in Tamil Nadu. BJP’s performance in Telangana improved in the recent bypolls. We have also improved in Kerala. Our cadres are working hard to win in Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Next year, the BJP will form the government in Telangana, and then in Kerala in the coming years.

There has been a suggestion that we must further strengthen the party in the southern states, and we are working on the plans to expand the party’s footprint there.

Q: Why is the BJP so confident of forming the next government in Telangana?

A: There is huge anti-incumbency against the K. Chandrashekar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government. Our workers and leaders are working hard among the people. The coming Assembly elections in Telangana will be fought on dynasty versus democracy, casteism versus nationalism and corruption versus development. The people of Telangana want to join the development journey started under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership by dislodging the corrupt KCR government.

Q: What are your views on Devendra Fadnavis being made the Deputy CM of Maharashtra?

A: Party chief J.P. Nadda asked him (Fadnavis) to join the government, and he accepted the decision and joined the government. Nadda ji conveyed the party’s decision to him (Fadnavis), both personally and publicly. We are all dedicated workers who follow the party’s directions.

Q: The BJP made Eknath Shinde the Chief Minister. Any particular reason behind this move?

A: The decision was taken keeping the interest of the people of Maharashtra in mind. People were suffering under the MVA government. The MVA worked against the interest of the people and the state. For BJP, the nation always comes first and the sole reason to select Shinde as the Chief Minister is the interest of Maharashtra.

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