VARANASI, Feb 22:
BJP President Amit Shah today ruled out any post-poll alliance with the BSP or any other party in the event of a hung assembly in Uttar Pradesh, confident that the party will get a “full majority”.
As UP gears up for the fourth phase of the seven-phase Assembly elections tomorrow, Shah, 52 , also said that the BJP not naming a chief ministerial candidate was part of the party’s poll “strategy”.
“Kisi se bhi haath milane ka dur-dur tak koi swaal nahin uthatha (there is no question by far of joining hands with any party),” he said when asked during a wide-ranging interview to PTI if the BJP would be willing to ally with the BSP or any other party to form a government in the politically crucial state if it fell short of a majority.
The comments by Shah come against the backdrop of some poll surveys and political experts projecting a hung assembly in UP given that all the three players – the SP-Congress, BSP and BJP – have a robust set-up and a loyal social base in the state.
Shah, who has campaigned extensively in UP, acknowledges the importance of the poll outcome in the state to 2019 Lok Sabha polls but at the same time he feels that the results would be even more crucial for the country’s development.
Working hard to recreate the magic of 2014 that gave BJP 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the face of stiff competition from the SP-Congress alliance and Mayawati’s BSP, the BJP strongman answered a wide range of questions on the elections in UP and four other States and their importance to the party as well as to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has also campaigned intensely in the country’s biggest state.
Shah expressed confidence that his party will form the next government in UP, Uttarakhand and Goa with “full majority” but is unwilling to make a prediction about Punjab, noting that it was a triangular contest there involving the SAD-BJP, Congress and AAP.
“In Goa, Uttarakhand and UP, we will form governments with full majority. It is ‘trikoniay muqablaa hai (triangular contest) in Punjab, so it is difficult to make a guess who will win,” he added.
Shah replied in the negative when asked whether the BJP saw a disadvantage in not naming a chief ministerial face in UP when the last-minute SP-Congress alliance had named the incumbent Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav while Mayawati was the BSP’s clear choice.
He said not naming a CM candidate was party’s “strategy”.
He refused to get into specifics of whether a central leader like Home Minister Rajnath Singh or any of the state leaders would be chosen to be the chief minister if the party wins. He restricted himself to stating that the choice would be made by the elected MLAs and the high-powered BJP parliamentary board.
Shah rejected the Congress charge that the prime Minister had sought to inject communal colour into the campaign a few days ago by talking about allocation of state land for ‘shamshaan’ (cremation ground) and ‘kabristaan’ (graveyard).
“Critics and media both should see the data”, he said, claiming that Rs 1,200 crore had been spent in UP on graveyards while only half that amount had been given for cremation grounds despite a population ratio of 80-20 (between Hindus and Muslims).
The BJP chief also accused the party’s political opponents of indulging in “politics of appeasement” and said BJP was called communal for raising such issues.
“They (the SP) are communal by indulging in politics of appeasement. Why this issue is not raised in Gujarat (where there is no such discrimination). Absolutely, they have a communal attitude in their policies,” he said and added that when BJP raises the issue then the party is called communal.
In UP, elections are being held for as many as 403 constituencies in seven phases. The last phase is on March 8.
The counting in UP as well as in other four states-– Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur–where polls were being held in different phases– will take place on March 11.
Asked if the outcome of the current elections was a referendum on demonetisation, which has caused hardship to the people, Shah said, “If media or the Opposition wants to treat UP outcome as a referendum on demonetisation decision, then BJP has no objection, we will welcome that.
“There are many issues in UP. Demonetisation was not a decision of UP government. It is the central government’s decision.”
Talking about funding of political parties, he indicated that BJP was working on a “roadmap” to accept financial contributions only by cheque and digitally by June.
Regarding demands that political parties be subject to RTI, Shah said only the financial funding of any political party should come under the ambit of RTI and not other details like number of cars etc.
On who is BJP’s main opponent-–BSP or SP?, Shah said, “In first two phases, we had competition with BSP and in third, it was with SP. These parties may put up competition in selected seats but BJP has strong presence in all the constituencies.
Shah also exuded confidence that the party will clinch 130 seats out of 209 constituencies which went to polls in the first three phases in Uttar Pradesh.
“On March 11 at 1 pm in UP you will see a (BJP) government (in UP).. After the three phases, I am looking at more than 130 seats,” he said when asked about the feedback he has received on the polling pattern so far. (PTI)