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Nov 8, 2017:: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani believes that the fact that he has come up the hard way is the reason he hasn’t faced any personal or political allegations during his term at the helm of the state.
“I was as an ordinary worker of the BJP throughout my career,” Rupani told DNA in an exclusive interview, “Like lakhs others, I worked for my party without any expectations, and had never dreamed of getting any political position. The CM’s responsibility fell on me suddenly, but I have worked in the way that I have lived my life — in a clean manner. This is why I haven’t faced any charges or allegations.”
Rupani said that he was given the formula of a transparent, decisive, sensitive and progressive government when he took over, and he has tried to adhere to it. He pointed out that he stayed put in Banaskantha for five days straight to oversee flood relief, showing the government’s sensitivity to people’s problems.
He was non-committal when asked if he would be the CM after elections, saying, “I will fulfill the responsibility my party assigns to me. At present, my only expectation is that the party wins 150+ seats.”
Even as the BJP faces challenges in the upcoming Assembly elections owing to unrest among various communities — depicted by the agitations being led by Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani — Rupani claimed that none of the communities were against BJP.
“The three leaders you are talking about are Congress props,” he said. “Their agendas and issues were aimed at elections. Once the polls are over, and Congress bites the dust again, these agitations and their leaders will disappear on their own.” He added that the trio was not working for any community, but for personal gain and political interests.
It is widely believed that Rupani’s predecessor, Anandiben Patel, resigned due to ineffective handling of the Patidar reservation agitation. However, Rupani did not have to face many issues on this front, barring during the past few months.
“Sentiments of all communities are with the BJP,” he said. “People of Gujarat have always chosen development over other issues. I say again that these agitations are back-end support for the Congress, which is trying to deceive people.”
Asked if BJP was caught on the back-foot by Congress’ assurance to fulfill the Patidar demand for reservation, Rupani said, “Whatever assurances Congress is giving, our government has already provided them to the non-reserved communities. The talks with Congress and the promises are a face-saving exercise for Hardik Patel, who is set to join the party. When we offered 10% reservation, Hardik described it as a lollipop, but today he is licking the same lollipop offered by Congress.”
Incidentally, while Rahul Gandhi has been visiting a number of temples during his visits to the state, dubbed soft Hindutva by many, BJP seems to be silent on its favourite Hindutva agenda.
Asked to comment on this, Rupani said, “Visiting temples is not Hindutva. If Rahul Gandhi ever believed in Hindutva, he should have punished Congress workers in Kerala who held a beef party. He should not have shared space with people who shouted slogans against Bharat Mata. For BJP, the definition of Hindutva is not appeasement of any particular community, but development of all. Congress has played the Muslim appeasement card, but it stands exposed now.”
Reiterating that his party’s sole agenda in the elections is development, Rupani said that BJP had won a thumping majority in Uttar Pradesh, and the same would happen in Gujarat. “Narendra-bhai’s mantra of development has been accepted by the country,” he stressed.
While the selection of both BJP and Congress candidates is underway, Rupani recently announced publicly that he would contest from Rajkot West, the same seat he represents in the Assembly.
He says the announcement was in reaction to the Congress’s false campaign that he is facing anti-incumbency. “I firmly state that I will contest from the same seat, and there is nothing like anti-incumbency against me. I have the support of voters in my seat,” he said.
Courtesy: Daily News & Analysis.