Asserting that Priyanka Gandhi's entry into politics will make "no difference" to the BJP's prospects in the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Saturday dubbed it an "internal matter" of that party. He also dismissed as "false alarm" the SP-BSP alliance and claimed that it was already embroiled in the dispute.
"The Congress has made her (Priyanka) the party general secretary (in-charge of eastern UP) this time. It is an internal matter of that party as to how it will utilise her services." "Earlier too, she had campaigned for the Congress. And this time too she is the party's campaigner and it will make no difference (to the BJP)," he told PTI in his first interview after an announcement of the Lok Sabha poll schedule on Sunday.
Asked as to what extent the SP-BSP alliance could dent the BJP's prospects in the hustings, Adityanath said, "The fledgeling SP-BSP alliance is already embroiled in the dispute." He was referring to reports of hard bargaining between the two parties over certain seats.
"It (alliance) is nothing but a 'hauaa' (false alarm)," the chief minister said in his exclusive interview during which he touched upon various key issues including the IAF airstrikes on terror camps in Pakistan and Ram temple. The 46-year-old saffron-robed monk-turned-politician said in general elections state-level local issues hardly matter.
"People will vote for that person and party in whose hands the country is safe, secure and prosperous," he said, adding the voters know this very well. "An effort is being made to whip up an unnecessary confusion and 'hauaa'," the BJP hardliner said, adding the current polls will present a "golden opportunity" for his party, which will come out with flying colours.
Referring to the IAF air strikes targeting terror camps inside Pakistan on February 26, Adityanath said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken "bold steps" as and when needed in the interest of the country. After the Pulwama terror attack which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel, all accused were eliminated by India, catapulting the nation to an elite club of countries that are capable of giving a befitting reply to its enemies, he said.
"This is the sign of an efficient and competent leadership." "Modiji began with smashing insurgent hideouts in the northeast (Myanmar border) and followed up such strong measures in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack demolishing terror bases across the LoC in one go," Adityanath said.
He said by carrying out the pre-dawn anti-terror airstrikes on February 26, India has isolated Pakistan in the international arena and also made New Delhi's strategic prowess felt all over the world. "We can say that India has emerged as a global superpower under the strong leadership of PM Modi," Adityanath said.
Asked whether these national security issues will be relevant among people in rural areas, who form a bulk of the electorate, he said every section of the society was aware of issues such as "development, good governance and nationalism". On whether the anti-terror airstrikes in Pakistan's Balakot have overshadowed the Ram temple issue in Ayodhya, he said, "Every child knows the importance of Lord Ram and considers him a role model." "Everybody needs prosperity as well as security."
People have realised that things which were impossible for parties such as the Congress, SP, BSP, RJD and the TMC, have become possible for the BJP under Modi's leadership, the UP chief minister said. "What was impossible earlier, is possible now," he said, adding "Modi hai to mumkin hai" (Modi makes it possible).
Exuding confidence that the BJP will come up with flying colours in the Lok Sabha elections across the country on the basis of Prime Minister Modi's 'naam' (name) and 'kaam' (work), Adityanath said, "In 2014 Lok Sabha polls it was Modi's 'naam', and in 2019 it is both 'naam' and 'kaam'." He expressed confidence that the BJP will improve its tally in Uttar Pradesh and win over 74 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
On why voters did not favour the BJP in the recent assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Adityanath said in states where a particular party is in power for a considerable amount of time, as long as 15 years, certain anti-incumbency factors crop up. "Our vote share has gone up in Madhya Pradesh and we fared well in Rajasthan despite odds. We will do well in the Lok Sabha polls in these states as the Assembly elections were fought on local issues, whereas this is an election for the nation," he added.
(With inputs from agencies.)