Union Home Minister Amit Shah has downplayed AAP’s challenge in Gujarat polls, claiming that Arvind Kejriwal’s party may not even open its account, saying the BJP state unit’s announcement to launch a . setting up an anti-radicalisation cell is a good initiative that could be considered by other states and the centre.
In an interview with PTI, Mr. Shah described the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the overall development of Gujarat during his tenure as Chief Minister of State and the implementation of a zero appeasement policy as the main reasons why people repeatedly regained their faith in the BJP. the last 27 years.
“The BJP will achieve an unprecedented victory in Gujarat. People have full confidence in our party and our leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Mr Shah, who crisscrossed the state addressing five rallies a day ahead of the polls in two phases on 1 and 5 December.
On whether AAP will participate in Gujarat parliamentary elections, the BJP leader said, “Each party has the right to participate in elections, but it is up to the people whether they accept the party or not.”
“AAP is nowhere in the mind of the people of Gujarat. Wait for the election result, maybe AAP’s name would not be on the list of successful candidates,” he said.
While the Congress has been the BJP’s main rival in Gujarat, the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (APP) has been waging an aggressive campaign in Prime Minister Modi’s home state.
Speaking of the Congress, Mr. Shah said, “It is still the main opposition party, but the party is going through a crisis and its impact is also visible in Gujarat.” Asked about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, Mr Shah said sustained efforts are a must in politics.
“I’ve always believed that politicians should work hard and it’s good if someone works hard. But in politics, only persistent efforts bring results. So let’s wait and see,” he said.
Mr Shah, who has spoken about national security issues in the state election campaign, said they are important in every parliamentary poll.
The opposition has accused the BJP of raising national issues such as terrorism in state elections to divert public attention from administrative concerns.
“Is the security of Gujarat associated with national security or not? Security of Gujarat and national security are not different issues. And if the country is not safe then how can Gujarat be safe? That is why national security is a major issue in all state polls “, he said.
“Being a border state, the people of Gujarat are sensitive to national security. We cannot afford to have national security compromised in any particular location in the country,” he said in response to a question.
With the opposition often accusing the government of abusing investigative agencies against its political rivals, Shah said there is an independent and neutral judiciary in the country, and “if there is any misuse of investigative agencies, then they can approach the judiciary. “
Mr. Shah, who has raised issues of law and order in his campaign speeches, described ending lawlessness as one of the achievements of the BJP government in Gujarat.
The former BJP chairman described the party’s election pledge to establish an anti-radicalization cell as a good initiative and said any organization like PFI that pushes youth to terrorism will not be tolerated.
He said the Popular Front of India (PFI) had been banned after due diligence and several states had requested it.
“The Modi government decided to ban PFI after accumulating a lot of information and evidence related to their anti-national activities, especially their activities to push youth towards terrorism by radicalizing them.”
“And several states have demanded to ban PFI. Such activities by any organization will not be tolerated in the Modi government,” Shah told PTI.
On whether the BJP’s announcement in their manifesto to set up an anti-radicalization cell in Gujarat will also be implemented in other states, Mr. Shah: “It is a good initiative. Let it be implemented (here) first. It will take legal form and the mechanism of action will be determined.”
He said that radicalization should be countered not only in Gujarat but across the country.
“And it (anti-radicalization cell) can be considered at the national level and other states. Radicalization has nothing to do with any sect, but we all know what forces promote radicalization. And the whole world is concerned about it,” Shah said.
Asked about issues such as inflation affecting the election, the Union Home Secretary said countries around the world are facing this problem, with India being the least affected.
“Slowdown has been a global challenge after Covid, yet the Indian economy witnessed a V-shaped recovery. Similarly, I also believe that India will handle inflation very effectively which is a challenge for countries around the world. And today the country’s social life is least affected by inflation,” Shah said.
On whether Bhupendra Patel will continue as chief minister if the BJP wins again, Mr Shah said he has “done a good job and continued all the initiatives started by Prime Minister Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat.”
When asked about all the regional parties coming together with national parties to counter the BJP, Mr Shah suggested that they are nowhere near Prime Minister Modi’s popularity.
“If you look at the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government he has given over the past eight years, I don’t think such alliances will have any impact. And these regional parties have nothing outside their respective states.”
“One regional party has nothing in the other state. In the end, it becomes a one-on-one fight. And such alliances only exist on paper and make headlines.”
Discussing the BJP’s expansion in southern and eastern states, Mr Shah said that the party’s vote share had risen to 40 percent in West Bengal and it won 18 Lok Sabha seats. He claimed that the BJP will further improve its numbers in West Bengal in the next Lok Sabha polls.
In Telangana, the BJP has “become the main opposition party”. The party is doing well in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Mr Shah said, adding that the expansion of cadres-based parties is not possible overnight. “It takes time, but we’re doing well in these states,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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